IU increasing number of defibrillators in campus buildings across the state

On Dec. 9, a student basketball player collapsed during a game and was in and out of consciousness. According to a report by the responding officer, administrators from IU Southeast Athletics and the trainer from the opposing team immediately applied an automated external defibrillator and took turns giving the student CPR. By the time paramedics arrived, the student had a pulse and was breathing on his own. He was transported to Baptist Health Floyd Hospital, where he continued to show good vital signs and has since made a full recovery.

This story may have had a much different and more tragic ending if it weren't for the availability and application of an AED. That's why the Indiana University Office of Insurance, Loss Control and Claims launched an initiative in the fall to make the availability of AEDs more consistent and abundant across IU campuses. 

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IU's Office of Insurance, Loss Control and Claims has launched an effort to make automated external defibrillators more accessible at IU campuses across the state. Photo by James Brosher, IU Communications

While IUPUI has provided AEDs across its campus, this wasn't the case on the other campuses. Some departments would take it upon themselves to purchase defibrillators, meaning different buildings had different brands, and replacements for outdated batteries and pads could not always be provided. It also meant installation of the AEDs was done by staff in each building, leaving some in file cabinets and desk drawers instead of in an easily accessible, public space.

Now Insurance, Loss Control and Claims is working to install AEDs in every public building across all IU campuses with the exception of IUPUI, where the machines are managed by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. The goal is to have defibrillators placed so that if someone collapses, a responder could retrieve an AED and return to treat them in less than three minutes, regardless of their location. The system for tracking of AEDs was modeled after the one that tracks fire extinguishers, meaning each is barcoded and cataloged in a database.

"AEDs, much like fire extinguishers, are largely ignored until they're needed," said Mel Lane, assistant director of the Office of Insurance, Loss Control and Claims. "We can't become complacent and let lives that could have been saved be lost."

AEDs are designed for use by individuals with no prior medical training, providing audio instructions on where to place pads and when to administer CPR. It continues to monitor heart activity and only applies shocks when necessary, meaning users don't have to make any medical decisions.

Those wanting training, however, can receive it at any IU campus. Faculty and staff on the IU Bloomington campus can attend first-aid courses hosted by Insurance, Loss Control and Claims and taught by instructors certified by the American Heart Association for $19.50 per person.

Those at regional campuses can contact Lane at mellane@iu.edu to request a visit from Insurance, Loss Control and Claims to train groups of eight or more. Environmental Health and Safety at IUPUI offers free presentations and learning sessions, as well as American Heart Association CPR/AED and first-aid classes for $25 per person.