FAMU Installs 114 Defibrillators on Campus PDF Print E-mail
By Alexia McKay,Texsena Scott -- Black College Wire   

In an effort to improve safety and health, Florida A&M University has recently installed 114 Automatic External Defibrillators that cost $1,300 each throughout buildings around campus.

"This project is part of a campus wide effort to improve heart conditions of students and faculty," President James Ammons said.

According to the American Heart Association, the automated external defibrillator is a medical device that checks a person's heart rhythm and recognizes the rhythm by applying a shock to the chest.

The Famuan
Automatic External Defibrillator
"We are confident in knowing FAMU has the potential to save lives," Ammons said.

A series of training classes will educate individuals on defibrillators.

"We want to be a safe campus in many ways," said Cynthia Hughes-Harris, provost and vice- president of academic affairs.

FAMU is working with the American Red Cross, Cardiac Science and PRodigy, the campus' public relations firm, to promote the health project, which also includes upcoming National Wear Red Day for heart disease.

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

The project also will be used to stimulate the FAMU community through the "Heart Safe Campus Community Initiative."

"It's a project that can lead to lives being saved," Hughes-Harris said.

Hughes said students and faculty must have easy access to the defibrillators if they were necessary to use.

"If we are to use them that means an unfortunate crisis has occurred," Hughes-Harris said. "The true objective is to create a campus climate that focuses our health and the health of our hearts."

According to Hughes, sessions will include initiating programs that will provide support and guidance. They will also focus on proper blood pressure screenings.

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, blood pressure can be an indicator for cardiac arrest.

"People are being trained now," Hughes said.

Mike Castleman, regional manager of cardiac science in Washington, said he encourages everyone to be trained in proper CPR and using defibrillators.

"This is one of the most well put together campaigns in the Southeast, "Castlemen said referring to the heart safety campaign. "These trainings will be beneficial to everyone".

According to Castlemen, early detection of cardiac arrest can improve survivability by 70 percent.
American Red Cross Service and Health Director, Helen Michel commended FAMU in its participation of heart safety awareness.

"When minutes count, lives can be saved," Michel said. "We promote and encourage everyone on FAMU to have public access to AED."

According to Castlemen, the University of Miami has ninety defibrillators, Nova Southeastern University has seventy-five and Florida State University has fifteen.

Some FAMU students appreciate the installation of the devices as well.

Antwuan Roper, 21, a senior theater student from Avon Park, Fla., said the defibrillators are necessary to have on campus. "Students are going to school and if something happens, their parents would appreciate the heroic measure," Roper said.

However, Roper is cautious about learning how to operate the device.

"I wouldn't get certified because I don't want to be responsible for someone else's life," Roper said.

Other students agreed with Roper.

"I would not get certified because I am scared I might shock myself," said Jazmin Johnson, 19, a sophomore general studies student from Jersey City, N.J. "But I would take CPR classes."

Defibrillators are also installed at FAMU's College of Law in Orlando.

Alexia McKay and Texsena Scott write for The Famuan, the Florida A&M University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Feb. 09, 2009
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