Injuries and illness are common occurrences in the school aged population. Increasing enrollments of students with disabilities increases the possibility of true medical emergencies in schools. The school has responsibility for the safety and well-being of students and personnel during the hours of school attendance, on school property, or during school sponsored activities. Therefore, local school district policies should address:
- Preventive measures to limit the occurrence of injury
- Policies to define what action will be taken in the event a serious injury, other emergency, or crisis
- Facilities and supplies to accommodate students with special needs, illness or injury
Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are specialized medical devices designed to recognize and treat certain lethal heart rhythms during a cardiac arrest. AEDs provide auditory and visual prompts to assist first responders, whether they are medically trained or not, in treating an individual in a cardiac arrest. The AED delivers an electrical shock to persons, only when the heart is in ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. In other cardiac arrest situations, the heart does not respond to electric current but needs medications and breathing support instead. AEDs have been shown to decrease mortality when used by trained persons and used in conjunction with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Many schools in Maine have AEDs. Several national advocates encourage schools to be prepared for an emergency by having within their plan, an AED in the school and/or at school sponsored events.
Policies/procedures should include:
- Location of AED(s) and related equipment
- Designation of who is responsible for AED program and identification of medical director
- Process, schedule and checklist for inspecting and maintaining equipment and supplies
- Process of communication when AED is used
- Record keeping when AED is used
- Initial and periodic refresher training of staff
Emergency Action Planning Program Anyone Can Save A Life is a first-of-its-kind emergency action program for after-school practices and events. It is designed to save lives from emergencies, including sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a leading cause of death among adults and student athletes nationwide.
Emergency Guidelines for Schools Manual was created by Maine EMS and is meant to provide recommended procedures for school staff who have no medical/nursing training to use when the school nurse is not available. It is recommended that staff who are in a position to provide first-aid to students complete an approved first-aid and CPR course. A one page Recommended Procedures for Emergency Care is also available.
Heat Index and Wind Chill Childcare chart from the Iowa Department of Public Health offers some guidance on temperature extremes.