The Value of Teaching CPR/AED and First Aid to Teachers
For many parents, the idea of having a school nurse is enough to address any potential medical issues. They never consider the need to teach first aid to schools. One problem with this philosophy is that fewer than half of the schools in this country have a full-time nurse. An even small number of schools have part-time nurses. That means that most school children don’t have access to a medically trained professional part of the time or at all.
School nurses are the primary source of medical care for both students and teachers during the school day. They spend most of their days managing cases for children with serious health conditions like diabetes, asthma, and epilepsy. While nurses are trained in First Aid and CPR, these healthcare givers aren’t always available. Due to the shortage of school nurses today, some provide care for thousands of children at multiple schools. That makes the odds of having access to someone with CPR and First Aid training when needed much less likely. Teaching First Aid to teachers and other school staff greatly increases the availability of lifesaving skills when they are needed.
Why CPR/AED First Aid Certification Is Essential for Teachers
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a basic First Aid procedure. It is used during cardiac arrest, which is when a person’s heart stops beating suddenly. When a person’s heart isn’t beating, they aren’t pumping blood to the organs of the body. The trained responder uses chest compressions that copy the pumping of the heart to help blood flow throughout the body, helping to keep the patient alive.
From the time that blood flow stops, giving CPR within minutes greatly improves the person’s risk of survival. Although CPR doesn’t usually restart the heart, it does help deliver oxygenated blood to the brain and other vital organs. CPR helps prevent brain damage and death. Once the EMTs arrive, they can apply an electric shock to the heart. Schools in some states are required by law to keep AED defibrillator machines on hand. If the school has an automated external defibrillator (AED) machine, they can use it to restart the victim’s heart.
Cardiac episodes occur primarily in adults, but they can happen in children, too. When cardiac arrest occurs in children, it is usually due to a congenital heart condition or one that is caused by an injury to the chest. Although the condition is rare in young athletes, it does occur. When it does, there is usually an underlying heart condition that the child and parents may not be aware of. The healthy appearance of an athlete often overrides any signs or symptoms of an abnormality. The potential for this type of medical emergency makes having an AED and someone with CPR and first aid certification at the event critical. It is essential to know the signs of cardiac arrest and the correct protocol for applying lifesaving procedures.
Recognizing the Difference Between Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack
A heart attack is different from cardiac arrest. A person who is having a heart attack is still conscious, talking, and breathing. CPR isn’t given to a person who is having a heart attack. They are taken to the emergency room for immediate care.
Part of CPR and First Aid training is learning to check the person to see if they are breathing and/or have a heartbeat. Responders learn who will benefit from fast and effective CPR treatment and who requires emergency care at the hospital.
OSHA’s Standard for CPR and First Aid Training
OSHA’s standard for CPR and First Aid training mandates the availability of a person or persons trained to render first aid. This addresses circumstances such as businesses where employees might not be near a hospital or other healthcare facility.
In some states, teachers are required to have CPR and First Aid certification to teach. Some states only require certain teachers to obtain formal training. For example, in Illinois, driver’s ed teachers must be certified. In Minnesota and Iowa, it is required for P.E. teachers. To date, about 38 states require some or all school staff to have CPR and First Aid certification. Some states have introduced legislation to require certification in schools, but the process is moving slowly.
CPR is greatly effective when it is available. It is a critical skill, whether it is used on children or adults. The key here is that it needs to be readily available. Too many children lack the medical oversight they need to protect themselves while in school. Even if your school is in a state where CPR and First Aid certification isn’t mandatory for teachers, teaching these lifesaving skills to teachers and staff can help save lives.
Benefits Beyond the Classroom
The primary reason for teaching CPR to teachers is to protect the children in their care. Every child should have the medical care they need to stay safe and healthy in school. But these skills are beneficial well beyond the classroom. Eighty percent of cardiac arrests happen in the home. The other 20 percent happen in public. That means that a teacher or administrator with these skills can help their loved ones, students, and anyone who goes into cardiac arrest in public.
Few places are within a few minutes’ reach of emergency medical help. When a medical emergency occurs, access to CPR, an AED, and other First Aid treatments can mean the difference between life and death.
One of the advantages of teaching CPR, AED and First Aid to teachers is that you can teach entire groups. It is an investment in your school that makes it a safer place for students and teachers alike. Even if they only use their knowledge to save one person, it is well worth the effort. It doesn’t have to be the law to make getting certified a good idea for any school in any state. Our choices in onsite and blended training make it easy and convenient to get the best possible training for teachers.
Onsite and Blended Training Options
EMC CPR & Safety Training, LLC provides nationwide onsite training options for charter schools, private schools, and public schools. We offer a full range of training options, including CPR Training, CPR Certification, Onsite CPR Training, First Aid Training, BLS Certification, AED Certification, BLS for Healthcare Providers, Bloodborne Pathogens Training, and AED Defibrillator Machine Sales.
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