What is an AED and why do we need them?
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are lightweight, portable devices which deliver an electric shock to the heart, only if needed. When the heart is in sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a shock delivered to the heart can halt an abnormal, ineffective rhythm and enable the heart to return to a normal rhythm. A shock delivered within 3-5 minutes can save a life and for every minute that passes, survival rates drop by 10%.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) often occurs in active people with no history of heart conditions. In children, common causes are genetic, congenital or related to a sudden blow to the chest. Some risk factors include: previous heart attack, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, arrhythmias of unknown cause, unexplained fainting episodes.
It is estimated that a substantial percentage of our population are inside our schools on any given day. Defibrillators will not only benefit children, but the many adults who work and volunteer in our schools. Studies strongly support the use of CPR and AEDs in the event of sudden cardiac arrest; when school teams are trained in appropriate recognition and response, survival rates soar.
Heart Safe Schools in Tennessee
Each year, it is estimated that between 600-1000 children die from sudden cardiac arrest. Many of these deaths could have been avoided with the use of an AED. Project ADAM schools are provided with materials and support as they work through criteria leading to Heart-Safe status. Team members and school staffs will be offered CPR/AED training, learn signs of sudden cardiac arrest, and employ proper maintenance of equipment.
By early fall, 2014, all public schools in Knox County will have one or more AEDs on their campus. Many of our schools have achieved Heart-Safe Certification and many others are working towards it. Placement of AEDs in surrounding county schools will be the focus for the 2014-15 school year. Project ADAM will continue to work with all East Tennessee schools on maintaining CPR/AED training and maintenance of effective response programs.
Project ADAM support is provided at no cost by East Tennessee Children's Hospital. If your school would like more information about becoming Heart-Safe, please contact Karen Dean Smith, Project ADAM Tennessee Coordinator, at 865-541-8137 or email@example.com.