The American Heart Association encourages all New Jersey schools to be better prepared for cardiac and medical emergencies by implementing the new American Heart Association Medical Emergency Response Plan for Schools (MERPS) recommendations. The American Heart Association introduced this public health initiative to help schools prepare to handle life-threatening medical emergencies such as sudden cardiac arrest. The recommendations are a blueprint for better preparedness.
The recommendations cite that as much as 20 percent of the combined U.S. adult and child population can be found in schools on many days. The announcement also cited a survey of elementary and high school teachers in the Midwest that found that 18 percent of the teachers had provided some level of emergency care to more than 20 students each academic year.
The American Heart Association Medical Emergency Response Plan for Schools recommendations focus on cardiac emergencies, but also recognize and address other types of emergencies such as unintentional injuries, natural disasters, broken bones or other sports-related injuries, asthma attacks, seizures and other illnesses.
Five key elements are recommended by the American Heart Association for school medical emergency response plans for schools: 1) Effective and efficient communication throughout a school campus; 2) Coordinated and practiced response plan; 3) Risk identification and reduction; 4) Training and equipment for first aid and CPR; and 5) Implementation of a lay-rescuer automated external defibrillator (AED) program.
New York passed "Louis' Law" about 18 months ago requiring all NY state schools to have AEDs. According to the American Heart Association, since the law was implemented no fewer than 11 lives have been saved at NY state schools thanks to the immediate availability of defibrillators.
Let's keep our school communities safe and well prepared to respond to emergencies. Learn more about the Medical Emergency Response for Schools recommendations by calling your local AHA office or call 1-877-AHA-4CPR. American Heart Association