Student emergency medical technician group kicks off defibrillator awareness effort

There are more than 60 automatic external defibrillators on campus. Would you know where to find one or how to use it if someone went into sudden cardiac arrest?

Stanford EMS (StEMS), a student-led group of emergency medical technicians overseen by Stanford’s Department of Public Safety, recently kicked off a campus-wide initiative to raise awareness among Stanford students, staff and faculty on how to respond to cardiac arrest emergencies using automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs.

AEDs provide simple-to-use voice and printed cardiac arrest rescue instructions that walk a user through attaching electrode pads to the patient. The device automatically analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm, then tells the user whether or not to deliver a shock.

The chances of survival for a patient in cardiac arrest decreases 5 to 7 percent every minute a shock is not administered. “It’s essential that bystanders call 9-1-1, provide CPR and use an AED as soon as possible,” Tiffany Shih, Class of 2011 and president of StEMS, said in a press release.

Recognizing the importance of rapid public access to AEDs, StEMS partnered with the University Fire Marshal’s Office to compile a list of all on-campus AEDs, then created a Google map pinpointing locations of all AED placements in campus buildings and pictures of the installed devices.

A video link is provided to demonstrate how to operate the specific AED. StEMS also is exploring ways to include the AED map as an application on mobile devices, such as iPhones. The group has created several public service announcements and hopes to eventually translate them into several languages.

“We hope that the videos will encourage bystanders to immediately start first-aid measures in the event of an emergency. Stanford students, staff and faculty should locate the AED closest to where they work, live or study and review their emergency procedures on a regular basis,” Shih said.

In addition to the 60 AEDs on campus, all emergency vehicles belonging to the Department of Public Safety are equipped with AEDs.  Departments looking to acquire AEDs should contact the Fire Marshal’s Office for more information.