Beginning Fall 2001, UNI Police Officers carry AED's - automated external defibrillators - in their patrol cars.
AED's are used to deliver an electric charge to the heart of a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is a heart attack that often comes with little or no warning and is a leading cause of death in the USA. AED's are increasingly found on airliners, shopping malls and large buildings and now at UNI.
In cases of sudden cardiac arrest, the American Heart association recommends immediate activation of emergency response by dialing 911 followed by CPR/defibrillation. With officers on duty 24 hours a day, the first responders to any campus medical call will be from UNI Police. Immediate CPR and use of an AED in the first 10 minutes of a heart attack is vital to victim survival.
The University of Northern Iowa has excellent emergency medical response from the Cedar Falls Fire Department and Sartori Paramedic-level ambulances. The Cedar Falls Fire Department sends a defibrillator-equipped EMT pumper from the main Fire Station one mile east of campus on 12th Street. Sartori Hospital is less than 3 miles north of campus on W 3rd Street. Both the ambulances and fire EMT units respond quickly to UNI for medical emergencies. However, studies show equipping the first emergency units arriving with a defibrillator increases survival chances for victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. UNI Police Officers, already on campus and familiar with the fastest routes, can add a new dimension to fast emergency response.
How Will the AED's be Used?
The two AED's will be carried in patrol cars that respond to campus emergencies 24 hours a day. The dictionary-sized defibrillator is easy to carry and easy to use. The small size and weight is particularly valuable at UNI. The pedestrian center of the UNI Campus is easiest to access on foot and includes many multi-story buildings. The portability is also valuable for medical emergencies in the large practice fields and nature preserves on the 850 acre campus.
The Agilent/Phillips Heartstream AED system is also used by the Wellness and Recreation Services staff in the WRC and UNI-Dome.
How to Use an AED
Steps for use:
- Make sure the scene is safe
- Check patient's breathing and circulation
- If no circulation is present, electrodes are attached to patient and the AED
- The AED checks the patient's heart rhythm and advises verbally whether to give an electric shock to reset the heart
- After a shock is administered, the AED automatically assesses the patient and recommends whether to give another shock or continue CPR
- All verbal directions from the AED are given in clear English
- The AED will not deliver a shock if the patient is not in a life-threatening situation
- The electrodes placed on the patients body can be unplugged from the AED and interfaced to the responding ambulance's defibrillator and heart monitors
The system is designed to give multiple shocks from each battery.