Sudden cardiac arrest is the #1 killer of student athletes and the leading cause of death on school campuses, though most schools are underprepared to respond to a cardiac emergency, in contrast to the ample time and resources invested in fire protection readiness. Every school must have a fire extinguisher and conduct fire drills, so given the statistics, why isn’t there a national standard for protecting young hearts at school?
In response, an American Heart Association task force developed a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan (CERP) toolkit that empowers schools to be prepared for a cardiac emergency. As a co-member of this task force, Parent Heart Watch created Get Charged Up! to support putting this plan into action.
The goals of the program are to model the importance of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and Cardiac Emergency Response Plans (CERP) in schools to prevent sudden cardiac death, and to familiarize administrators, educators, school nurses, coaches and parents about the role they can plan to champion prevention in their school community.
The program typically launches each October during Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, with participating schools announced by February during Heart Month. Parent Heart Watch then works with the schools to implement a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan by May, which is also Physical Education and Sports Month.
Based on available resources, program participants may receive an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for their school, or be invited to participate in a contest to win an AED. Specific program parameters are posted here by October 1 each year with a link to an application. If the link isn’t visible on this page, check back for updates.
The Get Charged Up! Program has been a wonderful resource for our high school. Not only have we been provided a brand new AED for participating in the pilot program, we have been given so much pertinent training and educational materials on sudden cardiac arrest. We also received a helpful toolkit outlining how to set up a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan for our school and guidance in disseminating sudden cardiac awareness prevention information to our staff, school community and parent groups. Many thanks to Parent Heart Watch, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, NASN, and so many others who developed this life saving system for schools! Margie Blackmon, MSN, RN, Mount Si High School Nurse, Snoqualmie Valley School District