By Doc Anderson
Since the live on-field collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, automated external defibrillators and sudden onset cardiac arrests have become a major focus of many Americans.
During the summer and fall 2022 semesters, Northeast Texas Community College President Dr Ron Clinton ordered the formation of a safety and security committee and charged them with reviewing and upgrading campus safety. The committee oversees a variety of security and safety issues including the AEDs located in various buildings across all NTCC campuses. Dr. Kevin Rose, senior vice president for Student Success, said NTCC currently owns 29 AEDs located throughout the main campus, sports complex, auxiliary campuses and in mobile go-bags carried by the athletic trainer and NTCC security staff.
Rose said NTCC made the decision awhile back to proactively equip the campus with a number of AEDs because time is of the essence during a cardiac emergency.
“Statistics and research unequivocally show that time is the key element,” he said. “Here at Northeast, we are so fortunate to have the AEDs and perform professional development to ensure people know where they are.”
Rose added that all academic buildings on campus have at least one AED located inside. The two-story health sciences building has one on each floor and the security group maintains a mobile version on hand as they patrol the campus.
The mandatory routine maintenance of the AEDs is performed by Justin Hargrove, director of Human Performance/Assistant Athletic Director. Hargrove maintains a log and rotates batteries and pads out on a case-by-case basis. Both battery and pads are subject to wear and tear as the machines sit in standby mode. Aviv.Life, an AED manufacturer, recommends replacing old batteries between two to five years after purchase.
NTCC offers its faculty and staff training to go along with the AEDs. Rose said the training is packaged together with other lifesaving skills and delivered periodically during teacher and staff in-service.
“During the fall faculty in-service, Mr. Hargrove gave an overview to all faculty,” Rose said. “Then, individuals can choose to further their professional development if they really want to dive into the training itself.”
Russel VanBibber, instructor of EMS and interim EMS program director, said training courses in AED and Stop the Bleed are offered monthly by the college allowing for what is known in the medical field as less “time to care.” He said it is imperative to have individuals on hand who can offer assistance until medical services arrive at the scene.
“It takes approximately 15 minutes for emergency services to reach the college,” VanBibber said. “Layperson CPR/AED reduces time to care. The longer the person is in cardiac/pulmonary arrest the chance of survival drops significantly.”
VanBibber and fellow EMS instructor Gary Short offer the monthly classes as a way to ensure the campus community has several opportunities throughout the year to receive life-saving training.
The Work4College program requires all students who participate to be CPR certified. Michelle Calderon, Work4College and criminal justice student, said she is grateful the program mandated the training,
“I’m really thankful the W4C program , through NTCC, required a CPR course and provided it to us,” Calderon said. “With my certification I think I would be able to help someone that may need CPR or AED intervention much better than if I hadnt been properly trained.”
Time is of the essence when it comes to the treatment of cardiac arrest. Early intervention is the best way to ensure survival. NTCC student Alexis Martin said the sheer number of AEDs alone provides a certain level of comfort.
“It’s good to know they’re in every building. If something were to happen, no time would be wasted rushing to get one,” Martin said.
According to s study published in Circulation, a medical journal sponsored by the American Heart Association, concluded that athletes are at an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Justin Hargrove, director of human performance/assistant athletic director, said athletic trainers have integrated AEDs into their treatment plans for years and are ready to deploy life saving care to anyone in need.
Athletic Trainers, in my experience, have had AEDs in their facilities and/or sidelines for years,” Hargrove said. “While our primary responsibilities are to the athletes, we also take care of and respond to Emergencies with coaches, staff, officials and fans.
Rose said NTCC is incredibly serious about the safety and security of everyone who steps foot on the NTCC campus. The hope is that having a significant number of AEDs will serve as one way to assist in that effort.
For more information on the safety and security committee contact Dr. Kevin Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the AEDs contact Justin Hargrove at email@example.com.