Make an investment in your heart


Here’s a grim topic. But don’t click away just yet because
it’s an important one. 

Let’s talk the No. 1 killer in the United States and the top
cause of death at a Scouting event. You can’t prevent it with a helmet or
personal flotation device. But you can learn to use a device that will save the
life of another adult in your pack, troop, crew, or ship. If we have your interest, read on.

If you instinctively placed your hand over your heart,
you’ve got it: heart disease and cardiac arrest. And the device is an
Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Scouting’s health and safety guru Richard Bourlon tells it
straight: By teaching your boys to perform CPR and use an AED, you’re training
them to save your life.

Think about taking that rocky hike up the Tooth of Time. Wouldn’t
you feel safer knowing the eight boys in your crew know CPR if you start having
chest pains? Yep. A no-brainer.

Still, Bourlon says the most effective lifesaver is an AED.
On average in the U.S., you have just a 6 percent chance of making it to the
hospital alive after cardiac arrest. A shock from an AED can increase that number to
90 percent. But each minute of
delay in administering the shock from an AED decreases your probability of
survival by 10 percent.

The BSA has partnered with Cardiac Science to bring units, district, and councils its Powerheart AED (pictured above) at a discounted rate of $1,249. Also, Phillips Medical is offering discounts for Scouts to make its HeartStart OnSite AED (pictured below) just $1,211. Scouters are taking notice, too.

Many Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops have begun raising
money to install AEDs at their meeting sites. Several troops have installed the
units in their troop trailer. And 58 percent of BSA councils have deployed AEDs
at council camps, and that number is rising.

Several Eagle projects have been aimed at heart health,
including one boy who built boxes for AEDs and secured the units from Phillips
Medical to deliver to his community. Another boy trained local middle-school
students in CPR using the American Heart Association’s Family & Friends CPR Anytime program.

And speaking of Eagle Scouts, the Eagle-required First Aid
merit badge offers additional motivation to get your boys talking about AEDs.
Requirement No. 3c states: “Explain the use of an automated external

Start promoting this lifesaving method with your unit. And
the next time you take a trip, bring along an AED. Oh, and some boys who know
how to use it.

Chime In: Does your unit have an AED available at meetings and events?


About Bryan Wendell 2988 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.