According to the Center for Disease Control, American Heart Association and other sources, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading killer in schools and children under the age of 18, resulting in the death of between 7,000 and 10,000 annually. It is the #1 killer in the United States, claiming up to 450,000 lives annually. One of the leading causes of SCA in healthy appearing children is they have an undetected heart abnormality. Only a shock from an Automated External Defibrillator or AED can correct this arrhythmia; chest compressions alone will not work. Incredibly, the chance of surviving is as high as 90% if a shock is applied from an AED, a portable lunch-box-size device, within the first 3-5 minutes, but the odds of a patient surviving decrease by 10% each minute thereafter. The average national 911 response time is currently 10-12 minutes. Early defibrillation or shock with an AED is the key to both survival and avoiding brain damage and or death in these patients. SCA is not age discriminatory.

Additionally, African Americans are twice at risk for cardiac arrest and twice as likely not to survive. It’s the number one killer in African American women. The most interesting thing about AEDs is that anyone can be easily trained to use them and they will not shock anyone by mistake. Non-profit organization, AED Alliance, in conjunction with Valdosta State University’s partnership, is finalizing the first benchmark survey measuring public awareness. Heather Murphy, Master of Social Work graduate student at VSU said, “I was compelled with the innovative concepts and aggressive goals of the AED Alliance and a partnership developed. There’s a huge public awareness disparity that AED Alliance is taking steps to overcome in order to get AEDs in schools and places where needed most.

I have been invited to present the survey results to the National Association of Social Workers conference in February”: Thus far:

● 84% do not know exactly what an AED is

● 91% do not know what SCA stands for

● 79% do not know what BLS stands for (Basic Life Support)

● 94% know what CPR stands for

● 89% had some college education or a degree, some post-graduate education or graduate degrees

● The age group with the highest percentage of respondents was 45-54

● 59.6% of respondents have some type of healthcare background.

● 51.6% of respondents think that drug abuse is the #1 killer of students under 18; 22.4% blame causes other than cardiac arrest.

● 82.3% feel all public schools should have AEDs; 13.3% were unsure; 4.4% feel they should not

● 81.1% feel a combination of state government, via funded or unfunded mandates, local school districts and individual schools should cover the cost.

● 19.9% feel the general public or private individuals should help cover the cost

“Future surveys need to reveal AED awareness equal to that of CPR by 2014, and is one of AED Alliance’s goals,” said Board member Dr. Christopher Snyder, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology Electrophysiology at Rainbow Babies/University Hospitals in Cleveland Ohio: Visit us at www.UHhospitals.org

Only 8% survive out-of-hospital SCA yet facilities with AED accessibility, report 74% resuscitation rates. “Having the chain-of-survival ingrained in society will result in saving 74% of lives currently lost each year. It will reverse the process of losing lives needlessly by turning tragedies into triumphs,” he continued.

For the complete survey and to help make greater AED accessibility by supporting the AED Alliance public “Borrow an AED” plan, visit: www.SHOCKtoLIFE.com

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