There is very little schools can do to predict the possibility of a pupil or teacher suffering a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), however there is one thing that all schools can do to give a person the best chance of survival should a child collapse and their heart stop beating - have a defibrillator on site. The chance of survival increases to 75% if a controlled electrical shock is administered within the first 5 minutes after SCA; the survival rate increases to 90% if the shock is administered within the first minute of collapse, opposed to only a 5% chance of survival if no shock from a defibrillator is administered.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest can strike anyone at any age, not just high profile athletes and sports people. Death is hard hitting no matter what the age of the deceased, however when a death occurs within a school it is very hard to accept. The impact on friends, teachers and the community as a whole is hard to overcome.
90% of victims of SCA showed no symptoms of any heart problems (cry.org.uk). This makes preparation for such events impossible. Figures show that each week 12 apparently healthy young people die from SCA (cry.org.uk), 624 young people per year! Around 270 children die after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest each year in British schools (Telegraph.co.uk December 2014). There are approximately 30,000 schools in the country, an estimated 80 of which have a defibrillator on site. Administering a controlled shock is the only thing that will increase the chance of survival for the young people in your care.
Reviewed: 25/01/2022 (doc:97 V1.1). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.