AEDs around campus - hiding in plain sight
Last year Alberta Health Services (AHS) launched Heart Safe Community, a province-wide Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) program aimed at improving access to AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators) within Alberta communities by providing information on training, placement and site responsibilities.
In addition to providing the public with this support, AHS created a voluntary registry of AED sites, devices and responders across the province that is coordinated with Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The timing was perfect for MacEwan University to sign on with the registry, as the institution had just installed 16 AEDs across its four campuses.
“We had been building our supply of AEDs since 2005,” explains Luisa Su, senior manager of Occupational Hygiene and Safety at the university. “But it was very important for us to have a plan and the necessary funds in place to install and maintain them, so we didn’t have them installed until late last year.”
The Faculty of Health and Community Studies donated the first four AEDs in 2005, and the Emergency Planning and Response department provided capital funding to purchase the remaining devices. The Centre for Sport and Wellness has owned and maintained its own AED for the past few years.
Of the university’s 16 AEDs, 10 are located at City Centre Campus, two at Centre for the Arts and Communications, and two each at Alberta College and South Campus. Much thought was put into where they should be placed, such as in high traffic areas and near labs.
Each AED box is installed at wheelchair accessible height, and will sound a loud alarm when opened. During an incident, Luisa recommends leaving the box open to help attract attention as a call for help or to help EMS or Security find you by following the alarm.
Each box includes the AED device as well as a Ready Kit. If you are trying to save the life of someone with an AED, you need a, er – clean surface to work with. “The Ready Kit has a razor inside,” explains Luisa, “in case you need to shave the person’s chest before using the AED.”
The Demonstration Child Care Centre staff have pediatric defibrillator pads available for use in case of an emergency involving children. There are also pediatric pads available at the AED located in the Christiansen Family Centre for Sport and Wellness and at Campus Security.
Part of the responsibility of having AEDs onsite is the commitment to maintaining them. Campus Security is responsible for monthly routine checks, which the university needs to record and report to AHS to stay current with the registry. Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness is responsible for maintaining the devices, including replacing pads and batteries before they expire.
It is recommended only trained first responders use the AEDs. However the device will walk you through what to do with recorded instructions.
In case of an emergency
So what should you do if you find you need emergency medical help? Luisa has some tips:
- Call 911 – tell the operator you are at MacEwan University, and the campus you’re at.
- Tell the operator which building you’re in (if you know), what floor you’re on, and the number of the room close to the emergency.
- Call Campus Security Dispatch at 780-497-5555 – they can assist EMS in finding you on campus.
Have you seen an AED on campus? Then click on the red box above for your chance to win a $50 M-Card! This contest runs from March 19 – 30. Students, faculty and staff may all enter to win.