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Our Initiatives

SCA Awareness

The Statistics



  • In the U.S., an estimated 435,500 people experience sudden cardiac arrest every year
  • Of this number, 9,500 are children (> 18 years old)
  • For every minute an AED is not used, chance of survival decrease by 10%
  • In youth, 82% of sudden cardiac arrests occur with physical exertion during competition or training


  • Survival Rate among adults is 5.2% and 4.4% for children
  • In the U.S., an estimated 401,000 adults die every year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest
  • In the U.S., en estimated 8,800 children(<18 years old) die every year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest

SCA Risk Factors

  • Fainting (syncope) or seizure during or after physical activity
  • Fainting (syncope) or seizure resulting from emotional excitement , emotional distress or startle
  • Chest pain or discomfort/aching heartbeat
  • Unexplained fainting or seizures
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatique/tiredness
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness during or after physical activity
  • Family history of unexpected sudden death under age 50

Statistics on this page were from the American Heart Association (AHA) and were recently released in its Heart Disease and stroke statistics-2014 Update, published in circulation online in December 2013 and in print in January 2014.

HeartSafe Designation

HeartSafe designation can be awarded to any school, municipality, business or organization for their efforts to increase survival rates of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest where you live, work or play. The basic requirements for HeartSafe Designation are:

  • Create an Emergency Action Plan for sudden cardiac arrest
  • Strategically place AEDs to ensure a 3 minute response time to scene
  • CPR Training for a specific percentage of the population based on organization type
  • At least 1 simulated SCA Drill annually
  • Earn a minimum number of "Heart Beats" depending on organization size and type

Below you'll soon find the requirements to become a HeartSafe Community, HeartSafe Business, HeartSafe School or Heart Save Organization. Please help us make Wisconsin HeartSafe.

CPR Training

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is an emergency lifesaving procedure that is done when someone collapses and is not breathing and is non-responsive. This may happen after an electric shock, heart attack, drowning or sudden cardiac arrest. For sudden cardiac arrest youth victims, 82% of the time, it's during or right after physical activity. CPR is critical to circulate the oxygen in the blood stream to vital organs including the brain. If brain cells do not receive oxygen, they will start to die within a couple of minutes.

It is HeartSafe Wisconsin's recommendation that anyone involved with youth, should be CPR and AED trained. This includes coaches, teachers, teacher aids, janitors, babysitters, life guards, umpires, referees, and daycare providers. Anyone in and around youth should be CPR certified. CPR training can be certified by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross and is general a 4 hour course and is good for a 2-year certification.

There are many places where you can get CPR certification either in a classroom or online. Costs range from free or as much as $80 per person. It is HeartSafe Wisconsin's recommendation to reach out to your local fire departments. All fire departments have CPR Instructors and are constantly training their own first responders and will often create a class for local citizens or groups that are looking to be certified. Costs are generally minimal with your local fire department and some may do it for free. Other locations are available at your local hospital, technical college or for profit businesses but will general cost more than the fire department.

Heart Screening

We all heard stories and read articles about youth, like Grant Schoen who are seemingly in peak physical condition, who suddenly and shockingly die either during physical activity or during their sleep. Every day, sudden cardiac arrest claims another 26 children.

The tragedy of these deaths for families and our communities is amplified when we realize how needless and preventable they are. One-third of these deaths may have been prevented through a simple, inexpensive heart screening.

EKG Screenings
Heart screenings consists of an electrocardiogram, EKG, and may include a screening echocardiogram, ECHO. Trained volunteers attach electrodes to the students’ chest and limbs in preparation for the EKG. A cardiologist interprets the results.

The EKG can help to detect potential life threatening, but treatable heart conditions:

1. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes thick. The thickening makes it harder for blood to leave the heart, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is often asymmetrical, meaning one part of the heart is thicker than the other parts. The condition is usually passed down through families (inherited). It is believed to be a result of several problems (defects) with the genes that control heart muscle growth. Younger people are likely to have a more severe form of hypertrophic cardiomopathy. However, the condition is seen in people of all ages and is the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in youth..

2. Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a heart condition in which there is an extra electrical pathway (circuit) in the heart.The condition can lead to episodes of rapid heart rate (tachycardia). Wolff-Parkinson-White is one of the most common causes of fast heart rate disorders in infants and children. Normally, electrical signals in the heart go through a pathway that helps the heart beat regularly. The wiring of the heart prevents extra beats from occurring and keeps the next beat from happening too soon. In people with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, there is an extra, or accessory, pathway that may cause a very rapid heart rate. This is called supraventricular tachycardia.

3. Brugada Syndrome
Brugada syndrome is a condition that causes a disruption of the heart's normal rhythm. Specifically, this disorder can lead to uncoordinated electrical activity in the heart's lower chambers (ventricles), an abnormality called ventricular arrhythmia. If untreated, the irregular heartbeats can cause fainting (syncope), seizures, difficulty breathing, or sudden death. These complications typically occur when an affected person is resting or asleep. Brugada syndrome usually becomes apparent in adulthood, although signs and symptoms, including sudden death, can occur any time from early infancy to old age.

4. Long QT Syndrome
Long QT Syndrome is an infrequent, hereditary disorder of the heart's electrical rhythm that can occur in otherwise healthy people. It usually affects children or young adults. When the heart contracts, it emits an electrical signal. This signal can be recorded on an electrocardiogram (ECG) and produces a characteristic waveform. The different parts of this waveform are designated by letters — P, Q, R, S and T. The Q-T interval represents the time for electrical activation and inactivation of the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart. A doctor can measure the time it takes for the Q-T interval to occur (in fractions of a second), and can tell if it occurs in a normal amount of time. If it takes longer than normal, it's called a prolonged Q-T interval.

Sources: American Heart Association, MedlinePlus, Johns Hopkins