Current status of cardiopulmonary resuscitation training and automatic external defibrillator availability in high schools in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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DOI: 10.1093/pch/pxac084


BACKGROUND: School-based cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and early use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) have proven to increase the survival of victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This study aimed to determine the status of CPR training, availability of AEDs, and medical emergency response programs (MERPs) in high schools in Halifax Regional Municipality.

METHOD: High school principals were asked to participate in a voluntary online survey comprising questions about demographics, AEDs availability, CPR training for staff and students, the existence of MERPs, and perceived barriers. Three autogenerated reminders followed the initial invitation.

RESULTS: Out of 51 schools, 21 (41%) responded, only 10% (2/21) and 33% (7/21) reported providing CPR training to students and staff, respectively. About 35% (7/20) of the schools reported having AEDs, but only 10% (2/20) have MERPs for SCA. All respondents reported in favor of AED availability in schools. The reported barriers to CPR training included limited financial resources (54%), perception of low priority (23%), and time constraints (23%). Respondents reported limited financial resources (85%) and the lack of trained staff to use (30%) as the main reasons for the unavailability of AEDs.

CONCLUSION: This survey showed that all respondents overwhelmingly favour having access to AEDs. However, the availability of CPR and AED training for staff and students in schools remains inadequate. Emergency action plans have not been devised, and few schools have AED devices. More education and awareness are needed to ensure lifesaving equipment and practices in all Halifax Regional Municipality schools.

Journal Title

Paediatr Child Health





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Automatic external defibrillator; Canada; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Halifax; Medical emergency action plan; School.

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