Tuesday, February 24, 2009

FAMU Installs Defibrillators in Buildings Throughout Campus

Florida A&M University wants to do what it can to protect the hearts of its nearly 12,000 students and 3,000 employees. The university has installed automated external defibrillators (AED) in buildings throughout the campus as part of its on-going commitment to health.

University officials say that the 114 defibrillators that are installed in 70 buildings across the campus will make FAMU a leader nationwide in the number of devices in place on a single college campus to treat the victims of cardiac arrest.

“As women all over this country join forces tomorrow with the American Red Cross to bring attention to the fight against heart disease through National Wear Red Day, we are confident in knowing FAMU has launched an initiative that has the potential to save lives,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “Our thinking was to be effective. Students, faculty, and staff must have easy access to a defibrillator wherever they are on campus. That is the situation that we have now created – a defibrillator in every occupied campus building.”

Research shows that early defibrillation is critical in sudden cardiac arrest. In fact, for every minute without defibrillation, the odds of survival drop 7-10 percent.

According to FAMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Hughes Harris, it is not enough just to have defibrillators, but important to have personnel trained to use them.

“If we are forced to use them, that means an unfortunate crisis has occurred,” said Harris. “The true objective is to create a campus climate that focuses on our own health and the health of our hearts; a campus climate that is focused on prevention through healthy lifestyles and behaviors.”

The installation of the AED devices marks the beginning of a campus-wide initiative to improve the overall health of students, faculty and staff on campus through the “Heart Safe Campus Community Initiative.”

This project involves using health as a tool to strengthen the FAMU community. The campaign will also focus on proper screening, such as blood pressure because high blood pressure can be an indicator for cardiac arrest.

“Through these initiatives and campaigns, we will become a Heart Safe Campus Community,” said Provost Harris. “As proud as we are to have the security of defibrillators on our campus, we will be more proud that we will never have to use them.”

The university will officially begin to offer training classes next week. To augment the defibrillator training, the university will also offer CPR training campus-wide.

FAMU Police and parking services vehicles also have defibrillators. In addition, the university has installed defibrillators at the FAMU College of Law, and plans are underway to install the AED devices at the Panama City campus.

This project was supported by a $1.5 million grant the university received in 2003 funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

CAPTION: FAMU announced it has installed automated external defibrillators in buildings throughout the campus as part of its on-going commitment to health. President James H. Ammons (second from right) holds one of the defibrillators. Other participants included (from left to right) Errick Farmer, FAMU’s Office for Academic Affairs; Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris; Michael Castleman, Cardiac Science; Jorge Olaves, FAMU’s Division of Health, PE and Recreation; Mary Simmons, FAMU’s School of Allied Health; and Helen Michel, director of health and safety service, American Red Cross.

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