Recently Lebron James’ 18-year-old son suffered cardiac arrest during a basketball practice, and earlier this year NFL player Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a game.
Thanks to quick action, both young men survived.
With classes back in session and fall sports underway, NBC’s Reena Roy looks at AED devices and the importance of having them in schools for this week’s Here for Health.
When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every second counts. An AED, or automatic external defibrillator, can be a vital tool to saving a life.
“People think that they need to be trained to use an AED but that’s actually not true. All you have to do is turn it on and it will tell you exactly what to do,” said Dr. Naomi Kertesz from the Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Kertesz says the need for an AED in schools is like the need for a fire extinguisher — using it is rare but could mean the difference between life and death.
“I think what we learn from Damar Hamlin is one of the difficult things with sudden cardiac arrest is it’s almost impossible to predict everybody who is going to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest,” Kertesz said.
She says the devices are simple and easy to use. Although training is not necessary, there are videos online that can show you how to use an AED.
But most importantly — know where the AED is.
“You have five minutes. Five minutes from the time someone faints to go get the AED, bring it back, put it on and use it until damage to brains and other organs starts to occur — five minutes. So that’s not the time to go, ‘Where’s the AED? How do I get it out of the box? Is it locked?'” Kertesz said.
Bottom line: the next time you go to school or work, find out where the AED is.
“We do so much to keep our children, our families, our communities safe. This is one of the easiest things you can do to save a life. Don’t miss that opportunity,” Kertesz said.