People often associate cardiac arrests with older people. However, the sad fact is that this can occur at any age. By installing an external defibrillator at our school, we give ourselves, and the local community, the best chance of survival in such an event.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of premature death, but with immediate treatment many lives can be saved. SCA occurs because the electrical rhythm that controls the heart is replaced by a chaotic disorganised electrical rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF). The quicker VF can be treated by defibrillation the greater the chance of successful resuscitation. Seconds count, and the ambulance service is unlikely to arrive quickly enough to resuscitate most victims.
Many SCA victims can be saved if persons nearby recognise what has happened, summon the ambulance service with the minimum of delay, perform basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (particularly chest compressions) and use an AED to provide a high energy electric shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Each of these stages is a link in a chain of events that provide the best chance of success, but the critical factor is the speed with which the shock is given.
AEDs are easy to use, compact, portable and very effective. They are designed to be used by lay persons; the machines guide the operator through the process by verbal instructions and visual prompts. They are safe and will not allow a shock to be given unless the heart’s rhythm requires it. They are designed to be stored for long periods without use and require very little routine maintenance.
AEDs have been installed in many busy public places, workplaces, or other areas where the public have access. The intention is to use the machines to restart the heart as soon as possible. This strategy of placing AEDs in locations where they are used by lay persons near the arrest is known as public access defibrillation (PAD). Training to use an AED is an extension of the first aid skills possessed by first aid personnel and appointed persons.
As a school community, we are aiming to raise £650 to make this possible. Please share our story with friends, family and local businesses in order to help us achieve this.
Please let us know if you have any ideas for ways in which we can raise the necessary funds.