Questions from ResQr buyer & Answers from Think Safe President/CEO

August 31, 2009

On August 20th we got a great email from Travis with some very thoughtful questions on our Seizure Disorder Coach.

Seizure Disorder Coach menu

Seizure Disorder Coach menu

Travis’ questions were:

  • What types of seizures?
  • How long does the program say to wait for the person to “recover” before calling emergency rescue?
  • How far does the program go in instructing people to handle epileptics during/after seizures and at what point does it say to call the hospital into the picture?

President/CEO of Think Safe took the time to write Travis this message back:

Great questions….I hope that the following can provide the details you need.  If not, hit us back!
The application is designed for the average layperson providing standard expected first aid care.  That limits us to providing coaching within the app that is in line with the expectations of the national first aid science standards / AHA /ARC standards for response to a medical condition such as yours.
These organizations call for 911 response if the victim is pregnant, diabetic (and having seizures), experiences multiple seizures or a seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes – OR if the seizure has no known cause.
It further states that if you are confused and disoriented to not allow the person to resume “activity”.  (thus, they would not call 911 but they would monitor you)
It then goes into keeping you calm and monitoring.  If you go unconscious it will tell them to provide CPR and if your airway becomes obstructed it will go through Breathing / Choking procedures including clearing airway and recovery position.
The protocols then state to cover with blanket if signs of shock are present (and we tell them the signs of shock).
And then it goes into calling 911 if there are signs of shock.
So, it will tell them to call 911 /advanced care for shock and for the reasons outlined in paragraph 2 of this detail.
Does that help?
I strongly recommend our ResQr First Aid & CPR Coach as a full solution; while it is $5.99 – it will give you an additional $4 worth of ANY medical emergency…and also cover seizure emergencies just like the above application would as well!  But, on a limited budget – at least the $1.99 Seizure coach gives you another tool for a loved/or friend to just use as a confidence builder”.  Make sure they use it once or see it before they have to in an emergency though; while I am sure they would be just fine…at least you can cover your expectations and concerns up front and share with them some of the specifics of your condition and what they can expect.
It is hard to design these apps for specific conditions – I had a father that was severely epileptic and died during GM; he died while home alone.  So, this is close to my heart.  The goal is to give you tools to share with others and to use on others – if you are not alone and can provide assistance to prevent death or disability!
All my best,

Great questions….I hope that the following can provide the details you need. If not, hit us back!

The application is designed for the average layperson providing standard expected first aid care. That limits us to providing coaching within the app that is in line with the expectations of the national first aid science standards / AHA /ARC standards for response to a medical condition such as yours.

These organizations call for 911 response if the victim is pregnant, diabetic (and having seizures), experiences multiple seizures or a seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes – OR if the seizure has no known cause.

It further states that if you are confused and disoriented to not allow the person to resume “activity”.  (thus, they would not call 911 but they would monitor you)

It then goes into keeping you calm and monitoring. If you go unconscious it will tell them to provide CPR and if your airway becomes obstructed it will go through Breathing / Choking procedures including clearing airway and recovery position.

The protocols then state to cover with blanket if signs of shock are present (and we tell them the signs of shock).

And then it goes into calling 911 if there are signs of shock.

So, it will tell them to call 911 /advanced care for shock and for the reasons outlined in paragraph 2 of this detail.

Does that help?

I strongly recommend our ResQr First Aid & CPR Coach as a full solution; while it is $5.99 – it will give you an additional $4 worth of ANY medical emergency…and also cover seizure emergencies just like the above application would as well! But, on a limited budget – at least the $1.99 Seizure coach gives you another tool for a loved/or friend to just use as a confidence builder”. Make sure they use it once or see it before they have to in an emergency though; while I am sure they would be just fine…at least you can cover your expectations and concerns up front and share with them some of the specifics of your condition and what they can expect.

It is hard to design these apps for specific conditions – I had a father that was severely epileptic and died during GM; he died while home alone. So, this is close to my heart. The goal is to give you tools to share with others and to use on others – if you are not alone and can provide assistance to prevent death or disability!

The ResQr family is not meant to be reference guides, but rather tools that assist in a real-time event. If any of you ever have questions on the way ResQr delivers step-by-step instructions on how best deliver emergency first aid, please contact us today.

Advertisements

10 ways your camera phone can be used in an emergency

August 31, 2009

Nearly all cell phones have a camera built into them now. A key part of an emergency situation is communication and documentation. Obviously any camera can help document a situation, but with a camera phone you can significantly speed up the communication process by immediately sending those pictures to the people that need to see them.

  1. Injury photos to the doctor.
  2. Damage documentation for insurance.
  3. “Here’s the landmark I’m near.”
  4. Record medicines or food brand needs.
  5. Remember parking spot locations.
  6. Document your cleanup efforts.
  7. Document your repair or cleanup expenditures.
  8. Crime scene evidence.
  9. Photo reaction plan for the reading disabled.
  10. Report suspicious activity.

If you have an iPhone you can also be prepared for nearly any first aid emergency by having ResQr First Aid & CPR Coach installed on your phone. Much more than a first aid and CPR guide, the ResQr software family is first aid and CPR apps for mobile and computer platforms that coach, and support you through an emergency first aid event in real time, as it happens. Check out the entire family at the ResQr site!

You can find a list of 50 uses for your camera phone in Disaster Prep 101 by Paul Purcell.


Top Twelve Myths of Disaster Preparedness

August 25, 2009

[tweetmeme]

It is our responsibility to make sure we are prepared for the unexpected. Not the citie’s, not the state’s, not the government’s. They provide amazing services to help in the event of an emergency, and we should all be very grateful for the men and women that put their life on the line to serve and protect, but when it comes down to it the minutes before emergency services arrive could mean the life and death of a friend or loved one. Good news is that it doesn’t take much to be prepared; try certified online training in CPR or first aid, and making sure you have the proper first aid tools nearby.

Here’s an excerpt from Disaster Prep 101 by Paul Purcell on the “Disaster Dozen” myths, the top twelve myths of disaster preparedness:

1. “If something happens all I have to do is call 911.”

Help can only go so far, or be there so quickly. Security, like charity, begins at home and the responsibility for your family’s safety rests on your shoulders. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t call for help when it’s truly needed, it’s to remind you that you may be on your own for while, especially if the situation is an expansive, or severe one.

2. “All I need is a 72-hour kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, some food and water, and a radio.”

We’re not sure where the “72 hour” figure came from, but it’s an extremely minimal amount of time and not very realistic. A more practical goal is to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 2 weeks (preferably 4 weeks). Why 2 weeks? As bad as Katrina was, there are numerous disaster and terrorism scenarios that could see substantially more damage, and a disruption of local services for three weeks or more. Also, many biological scenarios may see a 2-week quarantine. Regarding supplies and equipment, avoid the “one-size-fits-all simpleton lists” and customize yours to your family’s unique threats, needs, and assets. (See http://www.1800PREPARE.com.)

3. “My insurance policy will take care of everything.”

SWAT teams of insurance agents aren’t going to instantly rebuild your life like on TV. Insurance companies will be far more concerned about their own bottom line than yours. In fact, many insurance companies are rewriting policies to redefine some rather common terrorism or disaster related incidents as being excluded and not coverable. Check your policies closely!

4. “Good preparedness is too expensive and too complicated.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is, we haven’t made preparedness a part of our overall education. We get more preparedness info on an airline flight than we get as citizens. Most of us aren’t taught that there are literally thousands of subtle, simple, and economical things we can do to drastically improve our emergency readiness. The notion that it might be expensive or complicated has come from companies that aggressively market high-priced unnecessary gear.

5. “We can only form a neighborhood group through FEMA, the Red Cross, or local Law Enforcement.”

Neighbor helping neighbor is one of our highest civic duties. No one regulates this and you don’t have to get anyone’s permission to coordinate your safety with others. Working with these groups is rather advantageous, but not required.

6. “In a ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ terrorist attack, we’re all dead anyway.”

“WMDs” might kill larger numbers of people, but that doesn’t mean widespread destruction is a guaranteed thing. In fact, for widespread destruction, a top-grade WMD must be expertly and precisely applied under ideal conditions. This does not mean that WMDs are to be ignored or that they’re nothing to fear, it’s just that “Mass Destruction” does NOT mean “Total Destruction” at all.

7. “Nothing like that could ever happen here.”

Though some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters, say earthquakes in California, or terror attacks in New York, no area on earth is completely immune. Too, with as much as people travel, you might travel somewhere and wind up in a disaster you never thought about.

8. “All I have to worry about is my own family.”

Technically yes, but the more you’re able to care for your own family, the more you can and should help others.

9. “If preparedness were really important it would be taught in school.”

Preparedness really is that important, but schools only have so much time and budget to teach the things they already do. This is one of the many things we’re trying to change, but for now, you’re going to have to not only realize the importance of thorough emergency readiness, but to teach your family yourself.

10. “I can get free preparedness information on the Internet.”

Many free sources contain really good information. However, many, many of them are nothing more than a rehash of “72-hour kit” ideas, and contain nothing new or comprehensive. Also, it takes time and experience to filter the trash from the treasure. Worse, some of these free sites have “information” that could actually cause more problems than they cure.

11. “Full preparedness means I have to get a lot of guns and be a ‘Survivalist.”

While personal security and family safety are valid concerns, the vast majority of people around you will not be a threat. In fact, though looters gained a lot of media attention after Katrina, there were far more numerous stories of heroism. We suggest you balance your personal security needs with your desire to help those around you and strive to reach the best of both worlds.

12. “If something really bad happens, NO one will help.”

There’s no such thing as “no one helping.” However, the best thing people can do to is to prepare their families so they need as little outside help as possible. There’s always someone needier than you and the more prepared you are, the more you free up assistance resources so they can help those less fortunate.

1. “If something happens all I have to do is call 911.”
Help can only go so far, or be there so quickly. Security, like charity, begins at home and the responsibility for your family’s safety rests on your shoulders. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t call for help when it’s truly needed, it’s to remind you that you may be on your own for while, especially if the situation is an expansive, or severe one.
2. “All I need is a 72-hour kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, some food and water, and a radio.”
We’re not sure where the “72 hour” figure came from, but it’s an extremely minimal amount of time and not very realistic. A more practical goal is to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 2 weeks (preferably 4 weeks). Why 2 weeks? As bad as Katrina was, there are numerous disaster and terrorism scenarios that could see substantially more damage, and a disruption of local services for three weeks or more. Also, many biological scenarios may see a 2-week quarantine. Regarding supplies and equipment, avoid the “one-size-fits-all simpleton lists” and customize yours to your family’s unique threats, needs, and assets. (See http://www.1800PREPARE.com.)
3. “My insurance policy will take care of everything.”
SWAT teams of insurance agents aren’t going to instantly rebuild your life like on TV. Insurance companies will be far more concerned about their own bottom line than yours. In fact, many insurance companies are rewriting policies to redefine some rather common terrorism or disaster related incidents as being excluded and not coverable. Check your policies closely!
4. “Good preparedness is too expensive and too complicated.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is, we haven’t made preparedness a part of our overall education. We get more preparedness info on an airline flight than we get as citizens. Most of us aren’t taught that there are literally thousands of subtle, simple, and economical things we can do to drastically improve our emergency readiness. The notion that it might be expensive or complicated has come from companies that aggressively market high-priced unnecessary gear.
5. “We can only form a neighborhood group through FEMA, the Red Cross, or local Law Enforcement.”
Neighbor helping neighbor is one of our highest civic duties. No one regulates this and you don’t have to get anyone’s permission to coordinate your safety with others. Working with these groups is rather advantageous, but not required.
6. “In a ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ terrorist attack, we’re all dead anyway.”
“WMDs” might kill larger numbers of people, but that doesn’t mean widespread destruction is a guaranteed thing. In fact, for widespread destruction, a top-grade WMD must be expertly and precisely applied under ideal conditions. This does not mean that WMDs are to be ignored or that they’re nothing to fear, it’s just that “Mass Destruction” does NOT mean “Total Destruction” at all.
7. “Nothing like that could ever happen here.”
Though some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters, say earthquakes in California, or terror attacks in New York, no area on earth is completely immune. Too, with as much as people travel, you might travel somewhere and wind up in a disaster you never thought about.
8. “All I have to worry about is my own family.”
Technically yes, but the more you’re able to care for your own family, the more you can and should help others.
9. “If preparedness were really important it would be taught in school.”
Preparedness really is that important, but schools only have so much time and budget to teach the things they already do. This is one of the many things we’re trying to change, but for now, you’re going to have to not only realize the importance of thorough emergency readiness, but to teach your family yourself.
10. “I can get free preparedness information on the Internet.”
Many free sources contain really good information. However, many, many of them are nothing more than a rehash of “72-hour kit” ideas, and contain nothing new or comprehensive. Also, it takes time and experience to filter the trash from the treasure. Worse, some of these free sites have “information” that could actually cause more problems than they cure.
11. “Full preparedness means I have to get a lot of guns and be a ‘Survivalist.”
While personal security and family safety are valid concerns, the vast majority of people around you will not be a threat. In fact, though looters gained a lot of media attention after Katrina, there were far more numerous stories of heroism. We suggest you balance your personal security needs with your desire to help those around you and strive to reach the best of both worlds.
12. “If something really bad happens, NO one will help.”
There’s no such thing as “no one helping.” However, the best thing people can do to is to prepare their families so they need as little outside help as possible. There’s always someone needier than you and the more prepared you are, the more you free up assistance resources so they can help those less fortunate1. “If something happens all I have to do is call 911.”
Help can only go so far, or be there so quickly. Security, like charity, begins at home and the responsibility for your family’s safety rests on your shoulders. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t call for help when it’s truly needed, it’s to remind you that you may be on your own for while, especially if the situation is an expansive, or severe one.
2. “All I need is a 72-hour kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, some food and water, and a radio.”
We’re not sure where the “72 hour” figure came from, but it’s an extremely minimal amount of time and not very realistic. A more practical goal is to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 2 weeks (preferably 4 weeks). Why 2 weeks? As bad as Katrina was, there are numerous disaster and terrorism scenarios that could see substantially more damage, and a disruption of local services for three weeks or more. Also, many biological scenarios may see a 2-week quarantine. Regarding supplies and equipment, avoid the “one-size-fits-all simpleton lists” and customize yours to your family’s unique threats, needs, and assets. (See http://www.1800PREPARE.com.)
3. “My insurance policy will take care of everything.”
SWAT teams of insurance agents aren’t going to instantly rebuild your life like on TV. Insurance companies will be far more concerned about their own bottom line than yours. In fact, many insurance companies are rewriting policies to redefine some rather common terrorism or disaster related incidents as being excluded and not coverable. Check your policies closely!
4. “Good preparedness is too expensive and too complicated.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is, we haven’t made preparedness a part of our overall education. We get more preparedness info on an airline flight than we get as citizens. Most of us aren’t taught that there are literally thousands of subtle, simple, and economical things we can do to drastically improve our emergency readiness. The notion that it might be expensive or complicated has come from companies that aggressively market high-priced unnecessary gear.
5. “We can only form a neighborhood group through FEMA, the Red Cross, or local Law Enforcement.”
Neighbor helping neighbor is one of our highest civic duties. No one regulates this and you don’t have to get anyone’s permission to coordinate your safety with others. Working with these groups is rather advantageous, but not required.
6. “In a ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ terrorist attack, we’re all dead anyway.”
“WMDs” might kill larger numbers of people, but that doesn’t mean widespread destruction is a guaranteed thing. In fact, for widespread destruction, a top-grade WMD must be expertly and precisely applied under ideal conditions. This does not mean that WMDs are to be ignored or that they’re nothing to fear, it’s just that “Mass Destruction” does NOT mean “Total Destruction” at all.
7. “Nothing like that could ever happen here.”
Though some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters, say earthquakes in California, or terror attacks in New York, no area on earth is completely immune. Too, with as much as people travel, you might travel somewhere and wind up in a disaster you never thought about.
8. “All I have to worry about is my own family.”
Technically yes, but the more you’re able to care for your own family, the more you can and should help others.
9. “If preparedness were really important it would be taught in school.”
Preparedness really is that important, but schools only have so much time and budget to teach the things they already do. This is one of the many things we’re trying to change, but for now, you’re going to have to not only realize the importance of thorough emergency readiness, but to teach your family yourself.
10. “I can get free preparedness information on the Internet.”
Many free sources contain really good information. However, many, many of them are nothing more than a rehash of “72-hour kit” ideas, and contain nothing new or comprehensive. Also, it takes time and experience to filter the trash from the treasure. Worse, some of these free sites have “information” that could actually cause more problems than they cure.
11. “Full preparedness means I have to get a lot of guns and be a ‘Survivalist.”
While personal security and family safety are valid concerns, the vast majority of people around you will not be a threat. In fact, though looters gained a lot of media attention after Katrina, there were far more numerous stories of heroism. We suggest you balance your personal security needs with your desire to help those around you and strive to reach the best of both worlds.
12. “If something really bad happens, NO one will help.”
There’s no such thing as “no one helping.” However, the best thing people can do to is to prepare their families so they need as little outside help as possible. There’s always someone needier than you and the more prepared you are, the more you free up assistance resources so they can help those less fortunate.

Tips to beat the heat during the last weeks of summer

August 21, 2009

Although the weather here in Hiawatha, Iowa seems to be hailing the autumn air, there are still some hot days left for some of us. Here are some tips on staying safe and beating the heat!

  1. Drink plenty of cool water to stay hydrated and reduce your body’s core temperature
  2. Eat small, light, non-spicy meals
  3. If you’re going outside, wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothes
  4. Make sure you have access to a place with air conditioning
  5. If you don’t have access to air conditioning, stand-alone AC units aren’t that expensive
  6. Reduce the amount of sunlight entering your house
  7. Make sure your house has proper ventilation and insulation

Since we’re talking about overheating, here are the symptoms of sunstroke and heat exhaustion:

Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms include heavy sweating, weak pulse, fainting, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. The skin may also be cool, pale, or flushed.

Sun Stroke/Heat Stroke: Symptoms are high body temperature, hot, dry, red, skin (usually with no sweating), rapid shallow breathing, and a weak pulse. Sun stroke is the more dangerous of the two.

If either of these happen, the most immediate first aid need is to get the victim into a cool spot, and reduce their body temperature with ice-cold wet towels around the neck, wrist, and ankles. A tub of cool water is also effective, however don’t use cold water as it will be too much of a shock to the system.

With ResQr First Aid & CPR Coach on your iPhone or iPod Touch you have the ability to be walked through similar heat exhaustion situations via yes/no questions in real time.


School Lists Should Include an Emergency Preparedness Kit

August 18, 2009

This is an excerpt from a great article from News Leader in Springfield, Missouri on something to consider adding to your back-to-school list as you are getting your last-minute supplies – an Emergency Preparedness Kit.

The American Red Cross suggests that when parents buy back-to-school supplies, they also consider adding to an emergency preparedness kit to the shopping list.

Calling the effort the “Golden Rule for Back to School,” the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the Red Cross points out, “Whether it’s the last-minute run to the store for the glue that will hold a child’s project together or the dozens of bake-sale cupcakes whipped up late at night, parents frequently deal with the unexpected. Being prepared for emergencies — and not just the glue and cupcake variety — is the new golden rule for having a great school year.”

Items for an emergency preparedness kit include:
• Water — one gallon per person, per day (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
• Food — non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
• Flashlight
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Medications (seven-day supply) and medical items
• Multipurpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
• Cell phone with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Extra cash
• Emergency blanket
• Map(s) of the area

Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Supplies need to stay in an easy-to-carry, easy-to-transport container that can be used at home or on-the-go.
  • Your family should create and practice an evacuation and communications plan, and each family member should know how to execute it.
  • Designate an out-of-area friend or relative to be an emergency contact, and make sure all family members know how to contact them.
  • An evacuation plan involves having two meeting places: one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency (like a fire), and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
  • Designate an evacuation route.
  • Be trained in CPR and first aid so you can respond before help arrives. Those minutes can mean life or death! Think Safe has great certified online training solutions.

For information on Think Safe’s innovative emergency preparedness training and tools, and how they can save you time and money, check out the First Voice product line here.


FIRST VOICE™ ON-THE-GO WITH BACKPACK FIRST AID SYSTEM

August 13, 2009

Leading the way in multilingual workplace technology-aided first aid response

Hiawatha, Iowa, August 13, 2009 – Think Safe delivers state-of-the art upgraded first aid innovations consistently, while maintaining its track record of meeting and exceeding industry standards. The Backpack+AED Self-contained Emergency Treatment (SET) System is one of those innovations, providing a compact and low cost-of-ownership rugged AED, color-coded first aid supply bags, and the highly endorsed* Emergency Instruction Device (EID) all packaged in an ergonomic, easy-to-restock backpack system.Backpack+AED SET System

Donnie Linder, a doctor of emergency medicine at St. Luke’s Hospital – one of the nation’s Top 100 Heart Hospitals – says that the system is comprehensive and a key first aid tool to supplement CPR and first aid training. “With over 3.8 million disabling workplace injuries and over 250,000 Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) deaths in the US annually, and first aid and CPR skills studies showing only a six-week retention, First Voice provides a quality solution for the retention problem and the failure to have the right supplies immediately accessible.” In a SCA event, studies show that a 4-minute or less time to defibrillation is one of the keys to survival and recovery of the victim.

“Our Backpack+AED SET System has incredible ergonomic value and easy to find color-coded supplies matching our First Voice EID’s audible and visual coaching prompts,” says CEO/President of Think Safe Paula Wickham. “This system is designed for any workplace or public venue that is expected to comply with OSHA’s general industry and workplace first aid and AED requirements or recommendations.”

The Backpack+AED SET System steps a responder through all major and minor first aid events with clear and calm multi-step instructions utilizing the EID and the coordinating first aid supplies. The rugged AED is housed in a clear, front-facing pocket for quick access in an emergency. The system is available from select distributors including CPR and First Aid Training Centers or first aid supplies and safety distributors nationally. More information can be found online.

All protocols within the system are compliant with 2005 approved ECC/American Heart Association and American Red Cross First Aid and CPR protocols. With a recently added new EID “Language” button responders can now hear emergency instructions in Spanish or English, with the capability of 20 or more additional languages available. The contents of the color-coded first aid supply bags allow the Backpack+AED SET System to meet and exceed OSHA and ANSI’s newly updated 2008 first aid compliance standards.

*endorsed by the American Lifeguard Association

About Think Safe Inc

Think Safe Inc is committed to setting new standards for comprehensive emergency readiness and response. Manufacturing products for complete injury management and providing services that improve access to first aid and CPR training, Think Safe Inc products and services are a good fit for corporate and industrial environments, parks and recreational facilities, schools, convention and sport centers, remote or high-risk locations, and a host of other public gathering places. Think Safe Inc offers its patent pending systems in a variety of models, from a dedicated portable unit to software for computers and mobile devices. A selection of lightweight, portable cases and bags is available to meet various space, use, and environmental needs. For details about Think Safe Inc and its products, call Jen Mittan at 319-377-5125 or visit online.

###


Proven Effective! AEDs in Schools Save Lives

August 12, 2009

The following is from AEDs in School Prove Effective at MedPage Today by Todd Neale on the importance and effectiveness of having AEDs at every school.

In a survey of high schools that had an AED program and had had a cardiac arrest within the preceding six months, 64% of cases — students and nonstudents alike — survived to hospital discharge, according to Jonathan Drezner, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues.

Most of the schools (83.5%) had an emergency action plan in place for responding to sudden cardiac arrest, the researchers reported online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

More than 92% of individuals suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest do not survive to hospital discharge, and survival declines 7% to 10% for each minute defibrillation is delayed, according to Dr. Drezner and colleagues.

One study found that survival after exercise-related cardiac arrest in particular was only 11%.

Responding to the low survival rate, many schools have implemented AED programs and emergency response plans for sudden cardiac arrest.

However, it had remained unclear how effective early defibrillation was for treating cardiac arrest among student-athletes and others in schools.

To explore the issue, Dr. Drezner and colleagues identified 1,710 U.S. high schools that had at least one AED using the National Registry for AED Use in Sports.

According to a survey completed by school representatives, 83.5% of the schools had an established emergency action plan for sudden cardiac arrest; 60% of those with a plan developed it in collaboration with local EMS.

However, only 40% practiced and reviewed the plans at least once a year, and only 18% posted a written emergency plan at each athletic venue.

Of the respondents, 2.1% of the schools had had a sudden cardiac arrest occur on premises within the preceding six months.

Almost all (97%) were witnessed, 94% received CPR from a bystander, and 83% received an AED shock.

The average time from arrest to first shock was 3.6 minutes for students (mean age 16) and 1.8 minutes for nonstudents, including teachers, coaches, visitors, and other adults (mean age 57).

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of cases survived to hospital discharge, including nine of 14 student-athletes and 14 of 22 nonstudents.

“Although some deficiencies in emergency response planning were identified, a high survival rate for both student athletes and older nonstudents with sudden cardiac arrest was reported in high schools with on-site AED programs,” the researchers said.

“The need for ongoing CPR training, fully developed and executed emergency plans, and links to EMS are vital to the immediate and long-term outcomes of shock delivery,” Dianne Atkins, MD, of the University of Iowa in Iowa City said.

“The tragic death of an adolescent has a profound effect on the community, and the desire to protect this population may outweigh financial considerations,” she said.

Dr. Drezner and colleagues acknowledged some limitations of the study, including the low response rate (11%), the inclusion of schools that already had AED programs, the use of self-reported data, and the possibility that some cases of sudden cardiac arrest may have been missed.

For information on Think Safe’s AED solutions contact our AED Expert James Moroney.