The American Heart Association estimates that 446,000 people in the United States fall victim to sudden cardiac arrest annually. With each passing minute, chances of surviving decrease exponentially. Recognition of cardiac arrest, early activation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and early defibrillation by an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) increases a person's chance of survival by as much as 90 percent.

With support from the Parent’s Fund, the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad has expanded the University Public Access AED Program. Eight new AEDs have been added to the existing 11 AED units to campus buildings which experience high pedestrian traffic and where large gathering spaces exist. AEDs were installed in the following buildings in 2010: Derring, Hahn Hall North, Litton Reeves, Math Emporium, McBryde, Shultz, Surge Building, and Torgersen Hall.

When a person experiences a cardiac arrest, heart muscle dies as time passes. Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) helps defray this by circulating oxygen in the blood. Early defibrillation, within two-to-three minutes of cardiac arrest, has been shown to increase a victim’s chance of survival by as much as 90 percent. This life saving shock can only be provided by an AED.

Knowing how to recognize the signs of cardiac arrest, and how to properly treat it with CPR, defibrillation, and activation of EMS can save a person’s life. The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad regularly hosts classes in CPR and AED use. These classes provide you with invaluable knowledge that could save a person’s life. To learn more or find out about upcoming classes, visit the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad website.

Departments are encouraged to invest in AEDs for their areas. The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad provides planning and programmatic assistance to departments wishing to purchase AEDs. Currently offered on state contract, AED prices are significantly discounted. Contact the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad for more information regarding required equipment and cost.

Marking 40 years of service in 2009, the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad is the Emergency Medical Service agency serving the campus of Virginia Tech. It is a nationally recognized award-winning volunteer, student-run organization committed to providing exceptional emergency medical services to the university community. Virginia Tech Rescue Squad maintains four advanced life support ambulances and three specialized first response vehicles offering the highest level of patient care available in the commonwealth with in-station crews ready for service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The agency relies heavily on private donations from members of the university and extended community to fund technological upgrades and capital improvements to better provide this service to Virginia Tech at no cost.

More information about donating to the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad, CPR/AED, and EMT-Basic courses is available online. For more information regarding departmental participation in the University Public Access AED Program call Virginia Tech Rescue Squad at (540) 231-7138.

Written by Matthew Johnson. Johnson, is the captain for the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad.

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