Why do we need AEDs in camps or at schools?

June 17, 2010

June 2010

What is the scoop on AEDs and Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

We are talking about the nation’s leading killer; killing more people than strokes, AIDS and breast cancer in the US annually.  Each year, between 300,000 and 400,000 Americans experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) outside of a hospital.

About 10,000 to 20,000 are children!  SCA affects people of all ages!

On average in the U.S., just 6.4% of SCA victims survive. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED) take chances of survival to over 65%. In fact, early defibrillation (within 2-4 minutes ideally) with CPR is the only way to restore the SCA victim’s heart rhythm to normal. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease by around 10%. However, there are not enough AEDs to provide this life-saving treatment, resulting in lost opportunities to save more lives. Tragically, per a NIH study in 2007, 64% of Americans have never even seen an AED. AED PROGRAMS CAN AND DO IMPROVE SURVIVAL RATES. Communities with comprehensive AED programs that include training of anticipated rescuers in both CPR and AED use have achieved survival rates of 65 percent or higher.

How does this affect camps?  [American Camping Association**]

Illinois in 2009 passed an AED law for “recreational areas” that includes sports fields or recreational areas, affecting schools and camps.  Also, organizations that are involved in camping – such as the YMCAs, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts have been placing AEDs in an increasing number of facilities and camps. This is setting an expectation to provide care amongst the population and camp attendees.  With AEDs becoming more readily available, the potential exists for increased litigation from not having an AED on premises if there is a SCA event at the camp facilities. With AED prices dropping, more products to choose from, and the possible consequences of living in our litigious society, the time for a camp to purchase an AED is now. This is especially true of those camps in remote areas where medical response is delayed.

Why should I be a champion for AEDs?   Can’t we just call 911?

The national average for EMS response in the US is 8-10 minutes.  It is recommended (for best chances of survival) AEDs be used early on and ideally within 2-4 minutes.  There is a very good chance emergency medical services (EMS) cannot respond fast enough to save someone in cardiac arrest, particularly in congested urban areas, high-rise buildings, in remote rural areas, or large facilities.

What constitutes gross negligence isn’t spelled out in the law. Per product liability attorneys specializing in AED case law, organizations that have heavy traffic are more at risk if they fail to comply with “standards to provide care” and don’t have an AED at all.  Any manager or camp director at any large or high traffic facility should consider ramifications of not having at least one on premises in the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).  It is most likely their own job they are putting on the line and they should argue hard for them.  As a value-add for those directors whom can’t get top down management on board and funding is an obstacle; they should get hard copy evidence on file from their management if they can not get approval for purchase.  The old “CYA” policy!

** [Special note:  in January 2010 American Camping Association put the following revised accreditation standard into place for all camps except non-medical religious camps (camps where participants by religion do not allow modern medical intervention or treatment such as the Christian Science Church). Standard HW-17 now states: Does the camp have access to an AED (automated external defibrillator) available to the majority

Camp Responder Bag with AED

of the camp population, within the timeframe recommended by authoritative sources, and managed by trained personnel? The AED may be located on the camp property or available through another provider. ]

Think Safe can help your organization with AED funding and placement assistance.

Complete the form below to have a representative from our  AED GRANT DEPARTMENT contact you.  We are here to help you and to provide you more information and best pricing or match funding for your AED purchase needs.