Department of Environmental Health and Safety works to save livesby Russell Alston
Coastal Carolina University’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) wants everyone on campus to have the ability to save a life. Since 2003, the department has been installing equipment on campus that may be used to save lives in response to cardiac arrest.
Automated External Defibrillators, commonly referred to as AEDs, are machines that automatically diagnose cardiac arrest arrhythmias. The devices are designed to treat two types of cardiac arrhythmias: ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF). VT occurs when the heart beats too fast to effectively pump blood. VF can cause the electrical activity of the heart to become irregular, preventing normal blood flow and leading to possible flatlining. AEDs function by applying electrical therapy to the heart, stopping arrhythmia and allowing it to resume its normal functions.
“We are dedicated to providing a safer environment for the students, faculty and staff at CCU. To do so, we keep up with all the latest advancements in safety,” says EHS director Greg Weisner.
CCU installed its first set of five AEDs on campus in 2003. Now, there are more than 30 strategically placed around campus. The machines can cost more than $1,000 each. Each AED receives yearly servicing by the Fire Marshal’s office, in addition to monthly inspections.
CCU also has a team of responders who are alerted in the case of an emergency and can arrive on the scene in minutes. An emergency number makes their prompt response possible. When 2-9-1-1 is dialed, Horry County Fire and Rescue and CCU’s own emergency services are notified. EHS responders will receive a page from Horry County 911, enabling them often to reach an individual before the ambulance arrives.
“Our main goal is to provide the students and employees with the knowledge of the locations of AEDs and how to properly operate them,” says Weisner.
To achieve this goal, CCU – through the EHS – offers free training on how to properly use an AED. Basic life support principles, guidelines for CPR and emergency cardiac care are also taught in the sessions. Students, faculty and staff are able to take advantage of this training at no cost.
Workshops are scheduled bi-monthly. Audio and visual cues guide novice users on how to properly operate the machine. Attendants receive certification for the AED, CPR and first aid training they gain. There are even Good Samaritan Laws at the state and federal levels that protect individuals from legal ramifications.
“It is a good investment in safety to have these AEDs around campus and beneficial when community members know how to properly use them,” says Weisner.
Those interested in when the classes are offered can visit:
For a list of the where the AEDs are located around campus, visit www.coastal.edu/ehs/aed.html.