Oct 282003
Authors: Erin Frustaci

CSU is one step closer to saving lives.

In August, the university installed seven Medtronic automated

external defibrillators (AED).

Defibrillators are electrical devices used to counteract

fibrillation of the heart muscle and restore normal heartbeat by

applying a brief electric shock. CSU wanted to improve public

accessibility to emergency care equipment for cardiac arrest


“It’s exciting to be one of the pioneers in doing this. We are

one of the first in Colorado schools and others are looking to us.

Eventually it will be the standard,” said Megan Addy, safety

specialist for Environmental Health Services.

Addy is the head of the AED committee at CSU. The committee was

formed in 2002 and is made up of several CSU department

representatives, including members from EHS, the Lory Student

Center, Sports and Recreation, Conference Services, the CSU Police

Department, Morgan Library, Athletics and the Poudre Fire


“It really has been a joint effort to make this work,” Addy


Currently six of the AED units are public accessible. This means

that anyone can use them in the case of an emergency, although no

one has needed to yet. Two others are kept in secure locations.

“I’m really impressed with how easy and safe they are to use,”

said Earlie Thomas, director of EHS.

AED orientations and trainings have been made available for the

university community. Thomas went through the training himself.

“I’d like to see that students really know where the devices are

and feel comfortable to use them,” Thomas said. “They really are

simple and will walk you through what you need to do in order to

save a person’s life.”

Capt. Bob Chaffee of CSUPD said that three to four heart attacks

occur each year on campus and that a heart attack can happen to


“The concern for public safety overrides any concerns about

having public-access AEDs,” Chaffe said.

According to a 1999 study by the American Heart Association, a

group of untrained sixth graders demonstrated that they could

follow the directions on an AED. The students took only 27 seconds

longer to safely use the AED than trained paramedics.

The units are automated and tell people step-by-step what to do.

Once an AED is pulled from its case, an automatic alarm is

triggered that is sent to CSUPD.

Use of the AED will not replace the care offered by emergency

medical services providers, but it is meant to provide a lifesaving

bridge during the first few critical minutes it takes for advanced

life supporters to arrive.

The chance of a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s survival

decreases by 10 percent for every minute that passes, according to

the American Red Cross. If an AED is placed on a cardiac arrest

victim’s chest within three minutes of the heart attack, 80 percent

have a chance for survival.

“Our outlook is we want to eventually have an AED in every

building. This will be more attainable as more funding is

available,” Addy said.

A large sum of money was allocated to EHS as part of the

University Health and Life Safety Funding Budget in order to

continue implementing these devices on campus. Twelve more AED

units have been ordered and will be installed soon.

“I think we will see more and more of this technology, not only

here at CSU, but all across the nation,” Chaffee said.

For more information on AEDs, visit Colorado State’s

Environmental Health Services Web site at





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