The University is installing automatic external defibrillators, devices that can be life-saving when an individual is in cardiac arrest, across its three campuses.
The machines, which are being installed in 135 locations on its Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia campuses, automatically diagnose and shock two of the causes of cardiac arrest – ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia. Each AED box will include protective gloves, facemasks for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and extra AED batteries, in addition to the device.
“The goal of the program is to place at least one AED in each of the most heavily trafficked buildings on GW’s campuses,” University spokesperson Michelle Sherrard said. “Once all devices are installed, a list of locations will be made available to anyone interested.”
EMeRG is trained in using AED’s and has strong ties to the implementation of the machines.
“EMeRG was very supportive of the effort to add additional AED,” said Marc Berenson, coordinator of the EMeRG program. “We were the spearhead for the first installation of 20 to 30 AED’s, and the expansion of that was something we supported heavily.”
The addition of extra AED’s could save lives, Berenson said.
“Arguably the biggest difference (in someone surviving cardiac arrest) is having a defibrillator get to that person in less than four minutes.”
Now that this initiative has been undertaken, Berenson said he hopes students will be as excited about it as the members of EMeRG.
“This is really a major health and wellness initiative of the University,” he said. “It’s our hope that (students) won’t be intimidated to use it..and (will) feel comfortable using the device and making an impact in saving someone’s life.”
Berenson said EMeRG will hold AED orientation and provide CPR and AED certification for members of the GW community.
Some students are taking the opportunity to relearn AED operation now that more machines are being installed.
“I took a class on how to use (an AED), but I think I forgot,” senior Christinia Wadhwani said. She added, though, that she would take advantage of the training available to learn how to operate the devices.
The University must continue to reach out to students who want to learn life-saving techniques, Berenson said.
“The only other measure is really to get people aware of how to use these devices and learn to do the steps of CPR,” Berenson said. “What has shown to be very beneficial is really doing good CPR.”
He added: “I think that this kind of program is exactly where a lot of institutions across the country need to be, and I think we truly are at the forefront of the university/collegiate group in terms of this scale of a program.”