George Washington U. To Implement Campus-Wide Health Safety Iniative

Published: February 4, 2008

WASHINGTON – The George Washington University (GW) is installing 135 additional automatic external defibrillators (AED) in highly trafficked buildings on its Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia campuses to help ensure the safety of the university community. Following the installation of the new devices, GW will have a total of 165 units in place. The new university-wide program makes certain that immediate care to victims of sudden cardiac arrest is available on campus.

The devices are used to “shock” the heart back into normal rhythm following sudden cardiac arrest. Automatic external defibrillators are designed to be easy to use and no formal training is necessary to use them. However, orientation to community members and certification training for key emergency personnel are available by request. Currently, EMeRG staff and select other GW staff are trained to use the devices.

“GW’s new health safety initiative will help save lives and places the university at the forefront of our peer institutions,” said Fitzroy Smith, director of risk management and insurance. “This program is a testimony to the university’s commitment to making our campuses a safer place to live, work, and learn.”

According to the American Red Cross, more than 200,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest every year. A recent study by the National Center for Early Defibrillation reports survival rates of 50 percent or higher in areas where automatic external defibrillators are available. The chance of surviving a cardiac arrest decreases by seven to 10 percent for every minute of delayed treatment.

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Each automatic external defibrillator unit installed on GW’s campus will be inspected monthly and will contain items such as non-latex protective gloves, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) face masks, and extra batteries for the device. The university expects to complete installation of the devices by March 2008.

Members of the GW community and Foggy Bottom neighbors interested in automatic external defibrillator orientation should contact EMeRG for a schedule and location of training. EMerRG can be reached at emergcpr@gwu.edu or by calling (202) 994-0249.

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GW Feb. 5 press release

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