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Schools urged to plan for cardiac arrest

Schools urged to plan for cardiac arrest

12 September 2017

The Ministry of Education and New Zealand Resuscitation Council have partnered to develop AEDs in schools, a guidance document for school boards and leaders.

AEDs in schools raises awareness that sudden cardiac arrest may happen to anyone, and it may occur on school grounds or during school activities. Schools are encouraged to prepare for such an emergency and consider the value of an onsite automated external defibrillator (AED). AEDs in schools poses questions such as ‘Should my school purchase an AED?’, ‘Do staff and students know how to do first aid, CPR and use an AED?’, and ‘Do we have a clear and simple plan to access the AED?’

Every year in New Zealand, more than 2,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital. Cardiac arrest is imminently fatal, and the person in cardiac arrest who does not receive a defibrillating shock will die. Where defibrillation occurs early – especially within five minutes – survivors often recover with good neurological outcomes.

AEDs that are accessible in public places, such as schools, railway stations, airports and shopping malls, can mean the difference between life and death to a person in cardiac arrest. All modern AEDs are easy to use and can be used by anyone, even untrained rescuers.

Chair of the New Zealand Resuscitation Council Dr Richard Aickin says, “AEDs in schools encourages schools to consider their role in public access defibrillation. We support this, and are very grateful to schools that have already taken the initiative to acquire an AED.”

The New Zealand Resuscitation Council endorses the statement Kids Save Lives, which was upheld by the World Health Organisation in 2015. Kids Save Lives advocates a mandatory minimum requirement for all school children aged 12 and older to do two hours of CPR training every year.

“While many schools will already be providing first aid and CPR training for their staff and students, I would love to see New Zealand follow suit so that all children are exposed to CPR and first aid skills as part of their education”, says Aickin.

AEDs in schools has now been released by the Ministry of Education.

For queries about this statement please email or phone Lachlan McKenzie, Manager, Communications and Services on +64 27 499 6692.


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