To assist in deploying life-saving technology and drive community education, Cintas today introduced the Cintas Scholastic Grant Program. From now until the end of National Heart Month in February, any public school-affiliated group nationwide can apply to receive one of 100 complimentary automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) from Cintas Corporation. In addition, Cintas is offering AED units at a significant discount to all public schools through September 30, 2009.
"Approximately one case of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs every three days in organized youth sports," said Dave Bingham, Director of AEDs and Training for Cintas. "It is also a very serious condition for adults, claiming the lives of more than 250,000 people each year. Our grant program will give more individuals immediate access to an AED, offering them a significantly better chance of survival."
In support of pending Congressional legislation such as the Josh Miller HEARTS (Helping Everyone Access Responsive Treatment in Schools) Act, Cintas' Scholastic Grant Program is designed to increase awareness of the benefits of an AED program amongst primary and secondary school constituents such as parent teacher associations, athletic directors, athletic booster members, safety administrators, school administrators, school nurses, teachers and students.
The Josh Miller HEARTS Act is named after a 15-year-old student from Barberton, Ohio, who suffered from SCA during the final game of the football season. By the time his heart was shocked with an AED from the local emergency medical service (EMS), it was too late to save him. The Act, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, will make it a priority to put AEDs into local elementary and secondary schools to help prevent such tragedies.
When groups apply for Cintas' Scholastic Grant program, they are encouraged to develop an AED program for their school. Example programs include creating a CPR and AED certification class within the community, organizing parents of athletes to create an emergency program for after-hours events, or engaging students in a school project that teaches them about the symptoms associated with SCA, the need for immediate response and how to properly use an AED.
AEDs can not only save students, but also staff, parents and visitors who frequent the school on a daily basis. It is estimated that as much as 20 percent of a community's population visits local schools on any given day. The American Heart Association advises that individuals with access to an AED within a few minutes of experiencing SCA have up to an 80 percent chance of survival. The odds of survival drop to less than two percent after the first 10 minutes, which is about the average response time for an EMS to arrive after the initial call to 911.
"As we become more aware of the risks of SCA, it is imperative that schools take action," added Bingham. "A comprehensive, onsite AED program offers immediate access to a life-saving device. Schools that make this investment are taking a proactive step to protect the lives of their students, staff and individuals in the community they serve."