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Washington and Lee Commits to Heart Safety; Installs AEDs on Campus

Washington and Lee University has purchased 16 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) – 12 fixed and four mobile. The 12 fixed AEDs were installed Thursday, July 31, at various locations on campus.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) kills approximately 365,000 people in the United States annually. According to the American Heart Association, as many as 50 percent of SCA victims have no prior indication of heart disease; their first symptom is cardiac arrest.

The only definitive treatment for SCA is a defibrillation shock – an electrical pulse through the heart – which restores a normal heart rhythm. The chance of an SCA victim’s survival decreases by 7 to 10 percent for every minute that passes, so in order to be effective, defibrillation treatment must be administered within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest. After as little as 10 minutes, very few resuscitation attempts are successful.

“The AEDs make it possible for trained lay rescuers to provide immediate defibrillation, or an electrical shock to the heart, to a victim of cardiac arrest, even before arrival of emergency medical services. The survival rate following a cardiac arrest soars as much as 85 percent when an AED is applied immediately,” said Dr. Jane Horton, director of student health and counseling at W&L.

In addition to Dr. Horton, W&L’s AED implementation team includes Josh Williamson, head athletic trainer; Paul Burns, environmental health and safety officer; and Steve Tomlinson, associate director of Public Safety.

Many colleges and universities have instituted Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) programs with multiple AED units located in readily accessible areas on campus. The key components of a successful program are 1) ready access to AED units in multiple locations; 2) training of designated people in CPR and AED use; 3) using and maintaining AEDs according to manufacturer’s specifications; 4) physician oversight; and 5) integration with the local emergency medical services system/hospital.

Williamson is currently working on scheduling American Red Cross Adult CPR/AED courses which will be offered to interested W&L employees throughout the year. They will be notified of dates and times, when decided, via campus notices. The contact for these classes is Williamson. A CPR course is currently offered under physical education to W&L students.

The 12 Campus locations of AEDs:

  • Duchoissois Tennis Center (courtside)
  • 300 level Doremus Gym (Fitness Center lobby)
  • 100 level Doremus Gym (by pool entrance/squash and racquetball courts)
  • Stadium facility at Wilson Field
  • Lenfest Center lobby (Lenfest lobby/Box Office area)
  • Evans/Early-Fielding (lobby between the two buildings)
  • Elrod Commons atrium
  • Lee Chapel
  • Leyburn Library (beside elevator on Northen Auditorium level at present due to construction)
  • Gilliam Admission House
  • Law School (main entrance hallway area between library and classrooms)
  • Maintenance Facility

The four mobile units are located with Public Safety (1), Student Health (1), and with the Athletic Trainers (2).

For more information about AEDs, please contact Dr. Horton at jhorton@wlu.edu.