New Life Saving Devices Installed

Sarah Mazer ’19, Senior Reporter

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The college recently announced that it will increase the number of life-saving tools on campus for victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to Daniel Berndt, Dickinson’s safety and emergency management specialist, since he started in September 2015, there has been at least one cardiac arrest “incident that took place on campus.” Berndt was unable to provide information about incidents prior to September 2015.

The Department of Compliance and Enterprise Risk Management said in an email sent out to the Dickinson community on Monday, Nov. 20, that it has recently installed eight additional automated external defibrillators (AEDs) throughout campus, bringing the total number to 24.

The installation of these machines took place in two phases, the first phase took place over the spring 2017 semester because, according to Berndt, “we recognized a need for enhanced AED coverage across our expansive campus to reach the west, north, and easternmost buildings on campus.  The second phase [which took place during the current semester] came about after a request for a unit by an administrator in their building, which then evolved into identifying several additional installation points to further enhance our AED coverage.”

According to Berndt, the newest AEDs, which included dedicated pediatric pads, were installed in Rector, Denny, 50 Mooreland, South College, Kaufman, Old West, and the Children’s Center. He said that the first AEDs were installed in 2007 and additional ones were installed as buildings were added.

The AHA also stated in its email that an AED is a device that analyzes a victim’s heart rhythm and prompts the device user to provide defibrillation through an electric shock when prompted. According to the AHA, a victim’s chance of survival following sudden cardiac arrest decreases by seven to ten percent for every minute that passes without defibrillation.

Berndt said that the department is “working hard to raise awareness regarding these AEDs.” On its website, the department states that “here at Dickinson, we highly recommend individuals take an AED training course, typically sponsored through the Red Cross.” Berndt said that he is working with several other faculty and staff members who have completed the American Red Cross Train-the-Trainer program to set up regular AED training on campus.

Although Berndt encouraged participation in training programs for AED use, he said that one can use an AED without training or certification because they are “simple in design and developed to be used by anyone, walking an individual through each step, determining if a shock is needed and delivering one if so.”

According to Berndt, the college is not required to have AEDs because it is a private institution, but it is “best practice” to place AEDs in populated areas for safety reasons. The Emergency Preparedness website states that AEDs are “strategically placed in high-occupancy/assembly areas or buildings with increased risk due to individuals who may be using the facility.” Berndt added that the decision regarding where to place additional AED units also considered the AHA guideline for a three minute travel distance to the nearest AED machine.