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Shocking Technology Can Save Lives

What does Berea College have in common with airplanes, stadiums, and most elementary and high schools? Automated External Defibrillators or AEDs.

AED Device in Seabury

Berea College spent $4,500 on the purchase and installation of four AED devices in September of 2005. They were installed "to provide a better response to cardiac emergencies that may occur on campus," said Mike Morris, occupational health and safety manager.

The Seabury Center houses two devices and two are travelling around campus in the Public Safety patrol vehicles.

AEDs are used for fast response to sudden cardiac arrest caused by abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. According to the American Red Cross, "Victims of SCA (sudden cardiac arrest) collapse and quickly lose consciousness, often without warning. Unless a normal heart rhythm is restored, death will follow within a matter of minutes." The AEDs are in place to quickly restore normal heart rhythm until professional help can arrive.

Who will use the AEDs? "Primarily those persons that have been trained in how to use them," said Morris However, "members of the college community should take time to learn how to use an AED, it only takes a couple of hours."

The American Red Cross cites that more than 200,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest every year. Up to 50,000 of these deaths can be prevented if someone has initiated the Cardiac Chain of Survival and an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available for immediate use at the time of the emergency.

The Cardiac Chain of Survival is as follows:

  • Step one: Early access to care (calling 9-1-1 or another emergency number)

  • Step two: Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

  • Step three: Early defibrillation (AED use)

  • Step four: Early advanced cardiac life support, as needed

  • "A person can get certified in how to use an AED through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association CPR community classes," said Morris. He has been offering the combined AED/CPR course on campus since September 2005.

    If you would like to know more about AED/CPR classes please contact Mike Morris via email at or at 985-3246.

    For more information on the use and importance of AED devices please visit the American Red Cross website.
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