UT Announces First Responder Care Program

Published: Aug 16, 2005

The University of Tampa has initiated steps to increase chances of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA, by placing seven automated external defibrillators on campus.

SCA claims the lives of at least 250,000 people each year. The only known treatment for SCA is the use of a defibrillator, which uses a shock to stop the abnormal heart rhythm and allow the heart to return to a more normal beating pattern. Survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest are increased when defibrillation is delayed ten minutes or more.

“Our goal is to protect the lives of our students, employees and guests,” said Stephanie Russell Holz, chair of the AED Core Response Team.

Unlike modes of defibrillators intended for use by health care professionals, automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, do not require extensive medical knowledge to understand or operate. The expertise needed to analyze the heart’s electrical function is programmed into the device, enabling ordinary people to provide treatment to victims of SCA. A half-day training session covering both AEDS and cardiopulmonary resuscitation is all that is necessary to learn how to use the device.

The LIFEPAK CR Plus AED, manufactured by Medtronic, provides clear voice prompts that instruct the user through each step of the defibrillation process. It analyzes the heart’s rhythm and determines if a shock should be delivered. Once comfortable with procedures for emergency response, lay responders need only to listen and follow the directions provided by the AED device until advanced medical assistance arrives.

For more information on sudden cardiac arrest or automated external defibrillations, visit www.aedhelp.com.

Faculty and staff have participated in training sessions, and more are planned. AEDs on the UT campus are in Plant Hall under the first-floor stairwell, the Vaughn Center lobby by the ATM, Martinez Sports Center lobby, McNiff Fitness Center front desk, intramural athletic field, Safety and Security Office, and in the office alcove by the campus swimming pool. The Safety and Security and intramural field AEDs are mobile units.

For additional information on UT’s First Responder Care Program, contact Stephanie Russell Holz at srholz@ut.edu or (813) 253-3333, x 3389.