Action Plan Checklist

The following elements of a comprehensive emergency action plan (EAP) for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in athletics were recommended by an intra-association task force. Actual requirements and implementation may vary depending on the location, school or institution.

  1. Development of an Emergency Action Plan
    • Establish a written EAP for each individual athletic venue.
    • Coordinate the EAP with the local EMS agency, campus public safety officials, on-site first responders, administrators, athletic trainers, school nurses and team and consulting physicians.
  2. Integrate the EAP into the local EMS response.
    • Determine the venue-specific access to early defibrillation (<3–5 minutes from collapse to first shock recommended).
  3. Emergency Communication
    • Establish an efficient communication system to activate EMS at each athletic venue.
    • Establish a communication system to alert on-site responders to the emergency and its location.
    • Post the EAP at every venue and near telephones, including the role of the first responder, a listing of emergency numbers, street addresses and directions to guide EMS personnel.
  4. Emergency Personnel
    • Designate an EAP coordinator.
    • Identify who will be responsible and trained to respond to a SCA (likely first responders include athletic trainers, coaches, school nurses and team physicians).
    • Train targeted responders in CPR and AED use.
    • Determine who is responsible for personnel training and establish a means of documentation.
    • Identify the medical coordinator for on-site AED programs.
  5. Emergency Equipment
    • Use on-site or centrally located AED(s) if the collapse-to-shock time interval for conventional EMS is estimated to be >5 minutes.
    • Notify EMS dispatch centers and agencies of the specific type of AED and the exact location of the AED on school grounds.
    • Acquire pocket mask or barrier-shield device for rescue breathing.
    • Acquire AED supplies (e.g., scissors, razor and towel) and consider an extra set of AED pads.
    • Consider bag-valve masks, oxygen delivery systems, oral and nasopharyngeal airways and advanced airways (e.g., endotracheal tube, Combitube or laryngeal mask airway).
    • Consider emergency cardiac medications (e.g., aspirin, nitroglycerin).
    • Determine who is responsible for checking equipment readiness and how often, and establish a means of documentation.
  6. Emergency Transportation
    • Determine transportation route for ambulances to enter and exit each venue.
    • Facilitate access to SCA victim for arriving EMS personnel.
    • Consider on-site ambulance coverage for high-risk events.
    • Identify the receiving medical facility equipped in advanced cardiac care.
    • Ensure medical coverage is still provided at the athletic event if on-site medical staff accompanies the athlete to the hospital.
  7. Practice and Review of EAP
    • Rehearse the EAP at least annually with athletic trainers, athletic training students, team and consulting physicians, school nurses, coaches, campus public safety officials and other targeted responders.
    • Consider mock SCA scenarios.
    • Establish an evaluation system for the EAP rehearsal and modify the EAP if needed.
  8. Post-Event Catastrophic Incident Guidelines
    • Establish a contact list of individuals to be notified in case of a catastrophic event.
    • Determine the procedures for release of information, aftercare services and the post-event evaluation process.
    • Identify local crisis services and counselors.
    • Consider pre-established incident report forms to be completed by all responders and the method for system improvement.1


1. Drezner JA, Courson RW, Roberts WO, et al.Inter-association Task Force recommendations on emergency preparedness and management of sudden cardiac arrest in high school and college athletic programs: a consensus statement. J Athl Train. 2007;42(1):143–158.

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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