The Health Reporter Is In: March 8, 2018

The Health Reporter Is In: March 8, 2018

Q: What does it mean that the University of Illinois is now a "heart safe" campus?

A: It means the UI is especially prepared to respond fast to life-threatening cardiac arrest.

HEARTSafe campuses promote and support rapid response through the use of CPR and automated external defibrillators, rapid public access to AEDs, early access to advanced care, CPR and AED training for the community and engagement in preventive cardiovascular health care activities, according to the sponsoring organization, the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation.

HEARTSafe campuses are also an elite group, with just 32 college campuses across the country receiving this designation since 2013. Illini Emergency Medical Services, an organization of UI student first responders, worked for two years to meet the requirements, according to the group's adviser, Brian Brauer.

The effort included increasing the number of AEDs — devices that can be used to shock a heart to stop an abnormal rhythm — from 118 to 160, and making sure they were accessible in areas of campus with the highest population, said Brauer, also associate director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Another piece was training more people to be prepared to do CPR. Last fall, the organization began teaching hands-only CPR, which involves doing chest compressions only, rather than traditional CPR that also includes rescue breaths.

"Research shows for those first four minutes, the best thing you can do is push hard and fast on the chest," Brauer said.

More than 2,600 people on campus have now been trained in hands-only CPR, Brauer said.

The group also mapped the locations of all the defibrillators on campus, and those locations can now be found readily by anyone using the PulsePoint Respond app, brought to the broader community last fall. Anyone who is CPR-trained can download the free app to get text messages about the location of a nearby patient who's suffered cardiac arrest and needs fast CPR. The app also includes locations of where to find the nearest AEDs in public buildings.

Illini Emergency Medical Services includes more than 200 trained students who are trained to provide pre-hospital care to the public. It also provides CPR, first aid and emergency medical technician training and stands by at campus events, such as football games, club sports and concerts.

This group isn't stopping with the HEARTSafe Campus designation. Next on the list is working toward making the UI an EMS Ready Campus, Brauer said. That's a designation recognizing excellence in emergency management and disaster preparedness of collegiate EMS organizations.

"We're working on that for next year," Brauer said.

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