AEDs in Schools
Acting quickly when someone is in cardiac arrest and fighting for their life is crucially important; there are around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year.
To some people it may seem odd that we are promoting defibrillators for schools, but it really is quite simple.
Did you know that 12 young people a week lose their lives to sudden cardiac arrest according to official statistics published by the UK government?*
Unfortunately 80% of those young people who die have had no prior symptoms*.
We would only know there was an underlying problem if the individuals had attended some form of cardiac screening. The reality is that this screening just doesn’t happen. But the fact remains that young people are dying every single day from cardiac arrest.
Increasing the availability of AEDs in schools increases the chance of survival for students and others who experience cardiac arrest whilst at school.
Sudden cardiac arrest strikes people of all ages and fitness levels, usually without warning. Medical experts believe many children could be saved if an AED is used within minutes of a collapse. However, there is currently no national system in place in the UK or Jersey to ensure AEDs are present and in working order in schools.
An American Heart Association study published in 2008 shows that for every 111 schools, on average there is likely to be one cardiac arrest on a school premises each year. With over 22,000 Primary schools and over 5,000 Secondary schools in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland it’s easy to work out that is a lot of potential cardiac arrests and a lot of lives that could be saved!
But it’s not just the school children and staff who can benefit from an AED on site. Twice a day the number of people at a school increases substantially with the arrival of parents, guardians and bus drivers ready to perform the school run.
Schools are often easy to find and this could save a life of a member of the general public if everyone in Jersey’s community knew that each school had an AED, available for use in an emergency. After all, a school may be nearer than the ambulance when every second counts.
When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by 10%. An AED, more commonly known as a defibrillator, is a machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest.
Using an AED does not replace the need for an emergency service but may just make the difference to someone suffering from a cardiac event whilst waiting for the emergency services to arrive.
*Sources: BHF.org.uk Heart.org
We have a total of 45 schools in Jersey, made up of 31 primaries, 9 secondaries, 4 specialists and 1 fulltime Education College. To provide a school with an AED and training for 1 member of staff costs approximately £1500. A few of the schools are lucky enough to have AED’s already, we’re aiming to ensure that all on island schools have one soon.
AEDs have already saved lives in Jersey. Within the past 2 years an AED has been called into action at both Les Quennevais and Fort Regent Sports Centres. Thanks to the early intervention of trained staff and having an AED on site meant that each time had a happy outcome.
Just some of our donors:
The staff of JJ Fox Trading
‘Fifty Shades of Red’ Ball organisers Angela, Ellen & Camilla
The Customers of The Clothing Maintenance Co. Ltd.
Rotary Club of Jersey
Rawlinson & Hunter
CCA Galaries International
Channel Islands Co-op
+ Anonymous others
In an effort to ensure that all schools were provided with an AED as soon as possible, to ensure that one was available if needed in an emergency, the Jersey Heart Support Group ( JHSG ) committee took the decision to direct, on a temporary basis, some of its reserves into the project whilst fundraising continues.
Phil Volante JHSG Chairman