UW-Green Bay is increasing the number and awareness of life-saving Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) on campus, launching a new website to promote access in case of emergency.
The University recently purchased seven of the devices, bringing the total number on campus to 21 — including the three that are carried in UW-Green Bay Police squad cars. The goal, Police Chief Tom Kujawa says, is to have an AED accessible from anywhere on campus within five minutes — and for students, faculty and staff to know where they are before an emergency occurs.
“I’ve been to a lot of heart attack situations as a law-enforcement officer, where once you get there, the people on scene felt powerless because they didn’t know what to do,” Kujawa said. “This gives you something to do. And it’s not just something — this gives you a great tool to rescue somebody’s life.”
Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and most such arrests are caused by heart arrhythmias. A common arrhythmia is ventricular fibrillation, in which the heart’s electrical impulses suddenly become chaotic and ineffective. AEDs are small, portable computerized devices that can deliver an electrical shock to the heart and stop ventricular fibrillation. AEDs can check a person’s heart rhythm and recognize when a shock is needed.
UW-Green Bay’s Health and Safety Committee has led the charge for the additional AEDs and AED website, which includes maps of device locations as well as a brochure, manual and demonstration video. Officials plan to offer training opportunities, and members of the campus community are encouraged to watch the video on AED use, Kujawa said. Still, individuals can use the devices with no training at all, he added.
“What we want people to understand is how easy an AED is to use,” Kujawa said. “They’re pretty much made where you don’t need to be trained. You open the box and it tells you exactly what to do. And it actually walks you through CPR if the device doesn’t work.”
In addition to the website, the Health and Safety Committee hopes to eventually add AED locations to large way finding maps posted throughout campus. The idea comes from UW-Green Bay student and committee member Jeff Huebner.
“It is something that people should know about,” Huebner said. “It’s the old cliché that ‘knowledge is power.’ It should be highlighted in some respect, and the lack of knowledge was kind of alarming.”
The AED website, including device locations and training information, can be accessed at http://www.uwgb.edu/publicsafety/aed/. Questions about the page or the AEDs can be directed to Public Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org or (920) 465-2300.