Did you know that around 120 children experience cardiac arrest each year? And that your best chance of survival from a cardiac arrest is the early use of an AED (automated external defibrillator) in conjunction with CPR? When Greenhithe School principal Peter Marshall discovered this, he immediately purchased an AED from Heart Saver NZ.
“Our children’s health and safety is always at the forefront of what we do, so to me it was a no-brainer that we should have an AED on site in the case of a medical emergency,” he says. “Best practice says we should be able to access one within 5 minutes of someone collapsing and I am now satisfied that this is the case, now we own one.”
The Ministry of Education and New Zealand Resuscitation Council recently partnered to develop AEDs in Schools, a guidance document for school boards and leaders that raises awareness that sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time – and possibly on school grounds or during school activities.
“It’s not just our pupils, either – it’s my staff, parents, visitors to our school… In fact, it’s the entire community, who are welcome to grab our AED if they need it,” Marshall says.
2000 Kiwis suffer a cardiac arrest a year. It’s the leading cause of death in adults and kills 5x that of the national road toll each year.
Key staff at Greenhithe School have been trained by Heart Saver in how to use the AED, which is kept in a visible place in reception. Marshall has also included notices in the school newsletter to alert parents to its presence.
“We hope we will never have to use it, but I feel a lot better knowing we have one on hand, should we ever need it,” he says.
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