Approximately 134 million Americans attend some sort of church service each week. On average, 8,700 people suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) weekly. Assuming each churchgoer spends two hours in services, this means that around 100 people will suffer from SCA while at church. For the health and safety of every congregation, a plan should be in place so that you can be ready in case of tragedy strikes in your place of worship.
SCA is a fast-acting electrical stoppage of the heart, and it can affect people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, making it nearly impossible to predict who will fall victim to it next. Once it has struck a person, time is of the essence. With each passing minute, the chances of survival decrease by 10%, and after only 5 minutes, there is an increased risk of brain damage. For the health and safety of your congregation, having an emergency plan in place is important to help save a life.
Here are a few ways that you can incorporate a plan in your church to help react faster if one of your members suffers from SCA.
- Have the right equipment on hand.
One of the most important pieces of equipment to have on hand if anyone should suddenly collapse and lose consciousness as a result of SCA is an automated external defibrillator (AED). These devices do not require medical training to be used, and they can be the difference between life and death. Websites, such as www.aedbrands.com, for example, offer a variety of brands to choose from so that you can find the right one for your congregation’s needs.
- Purchase the right amount for your congregation size.
Depending on the size of your church and the layout, you may need more than one AED to properly equip your building. If you have a single story small building, one AED may be sufficient, but if you have a large congregation or multiple stories, you may want more.
- Hold a class on how to use it.
The American Red Cross and other public organizations offer short courses in CPR and how to use an AED. When you offer this to your church, you set your members up to help not only within your congregation but also anywhere else they go.
With the risk so high that somebody in your congregation can have a sudden cardiac arrest, it is a good idea to have a plan in place and be prepared in case of an emergency.