High school students, you are the future! What you learn during your four short years in high school will go with you into the rest of your life as you go to college, start careers, start families, and become members of your local community.
Of all the things you learn in high school, one of the most valuable skills you can learn is how to save a life: it just might be someone you know and love, or a stranger you have never met before. Our scholarship entrants this year contributed some fantastic ideas for educating your friends and classmates about SCA. The more people who know about it, the better off we all are.
SCA Can Strike Unpredictably
Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or health status. It’s a silent killer that strikes without warning and requires fast action to save the victim. The more you know, and the more the people around you know, the better-prepared everyone is to respond to an emergency. So how can students like you let others around you know about sudden cardiac arrest and its treatment?
10 Great Ways to Raise SCA Awareness at Your High School
Here are our favorite 10 ideas for raising awareness about SCA in your school, courtesy of some of our scholarship entrants:
- Create a short video series to share in classes, broadcast on your school’s internal TV station, and/or post on social media (make sure you have everyone who is in the video sign a consent form for this) and include:
- How to determine if someone is in cardiac arrest.
- Instructions on how to do hands-only CPR.
- A school tour showing where all the AEDs are located in your school.
- Organize a class with the help of your local EMS department or hospital to teach hands-only CPR during lunch hour or at a school assembly.
- Stage a performance showing what to do when someone goes into SCA during October, which is Sudden Cardiac Awareness month, or during February, which is Heart Health Awareness month, (or both!).
- Point out AEDs as you are walking around school and ask your fellow students if they know what they are and how to use them.Talk to everyone about SCA!
- Talk to the principal about adding a CPR course, if your school doesn’t already have one. If your state doesn’t require CPR training before graduation, write your legislators and let them know why it is a good idea.
- Invite guest speakers from your local EMS department or hospital to talk to the student body. EMS workers and healthcare workers can give examples of cases they have worked on involving SCA and what kind of care the person received and the outcomes. Anecdotal presentations are always far more interesting and memorable than just presenting straight facts.
- Host an event on hands-only CPR and AED use at your local library, community center, or anywhere large groups gather. Offer training to your community with the help of your community EMS workers.
- Host an AED Scavenger Hunt if you have a large campus with many AEDs. The first team to find them all and get back to “base” wins a big prize.
- Organize a fundraising event to purchase an AED or more AEDs if your school doesn’t have these life-saving devices! Could be in conjunction with a sporting event or some other health-related event.
- Talk to the school’s athletic department about including ECGs in your school’s pre-participation screenings for sports. See our story on the Eric Paredes Act in which California put measures in place to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest within school sports programs.
Whatever you do, please get involved if you see someone go into sudden cardiac arrest. Remember the chain of survival!
- Call 911
- Start CPR
- Get that AED to the patient’s side and hooked up so it can do its job
- Keep going with AED analysis, shocks and CPR until EMS arrives and takes over so they can get advanced care at a hospital
Do you have any ideas for raising SCA awareness in your school?