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Reminder: Automatic External Defibrillators on Campus

July 6, 2011

In light of the recent local death of a college baseball player from cardiac arrest, the UNH Police Department’s emergency management division is reminding the community that there are 32 Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) on campus. There are also devices at UNH-Manchester and on the UNH M/V Gulf Challenger.

According to the American Heart Association, almost 300,000 people will suffer sudden cardiac death every year. Sudden cardiac death is death resulting from an abrupt loss of heart function. The victim may or may not have diagnosed heart disease. Symptoms can be mild in nature and death can occur minutes after symptoms appear. The computerized AEDs can recognize a heart rhythm that needs a shock to return it to normal.

Paul Dean, university emergency management director, is committed to increasing the number of AEDs on campus, the availability of CPR/AED courses offered and the ultimate goal of protecting the university community and its visitors.

The AEDs can check a person’s heart rhythm. Audio and visual prompts aid users, telling them when a shock is needed and what steps to take to administer it.

“The machines are foolproof,” says Jim Lapolla, Homeland Security specialist/paramedic with the Office of Emergency Management. “They won’t give a shock unless they determine the person needs it. And they’re simple to use; if you can count to three, and see and hear, you can use it.”

Even still, training is recommended. Classes for UNH and UNHM community members are offered through the Office of Emergency Management in collaboration with the Durham Fire Department. A minimum of five people are needed to conduct the 2 ½ - 3 hour class on AEDs that includes CPR.

For questions about the CPR course, or the campus AED project contact James Lapolla at jlapolla@unh.edu.


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