MSUWell installs AEDs across Minot State’s campus

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University’s MSUWell committee has worked over the past two years to bolster the number of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) across campus. MSU has increased its total from eight to 12 through grants from St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation.

MSUWell is a committee on campus consisting of representatives from faculty senate, staff senate, the Student Government Association, and at large members for a total of 16 members with a mission to promote the eight Dimensions of Wellness using a collaborative campus approach.

University Communications caught up with MSUWell Chair Courtenay Brekhus, assistant director, Wellness Center, to discuss the importance of these life-saving devices.

What is an AED, and why is it important?

CB: An AED is an automated external defibrillator — it is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart when it detects an abnormal rhythm and changes the rhythm back to normal. AEDs help people who have a sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating regularly. This happens when the heart’s natural electrical system doesn’t work correctly. If not treated within minutes, cardiac arrest quickly leads to death. AEDs save lives.

How did MSUWell decide this was a project they wanted to take on?

CB: During my annual CPR certification class with campus security, Gary Orluck, safety and security director, shared a story where he had to respond to an emergency at Hartnett Hall. He recalls that he had to run up the stairs to the second floor of Swain Hall to the nearest AED before having to run up three levels of stairs to the site of the emergency. I asked him what his response time was from the time they called to the time he arrived with the AED. I asked, “five minutes?” He responded, “maybe five minutes for someone younger who can run faster. It was probably more like six or seven minutes. I was huffing and puffing.” He remembers the incident like it was yesterday.

With my background as a CPR instructor and athletic trainer, I knew that six or seven minutes is way too long for an emergency right here on our own campus. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, for every minute without defibrillation in the event of cardiac arrest, chances of survival reduce 7-10%.

So, I brought that story back to MSUWell, and we discussed the importance of having an AED in every single building on campus. The committee discussed the opportunity to write grants for funding a few more AEDs on campus. Kim Tiedman, assistant professor, nursing; Paul Brekke, Wellness Center director; and I — with wonderful guidance from Amy Armstrong, office of sponsored programs director — worked on writing a grant proposal. That’s where it all began.

How many AEDs were on campus before you began working on the AED Access Plan, and how many are there now?

CB: There were eight total AEDs on campus prior to this project. There were two in the Minot State Dome, three in the Wellness Center, one in the Gordon B. Olson Library, one in Swain Hall, and one in Memorial Hall.

In August of 2021, we were granted $4,000 from St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation. We were able to purchase two AEDs that fall. We focused our initial efforts to put an AED in the Student Center since it is a high traffic building with many visitors, and we also felt it was extremely important to have one in Old Main, since that facility houses numerous events that are open to the public.

In November 2022, we received another grant for $2,000 from St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation. The AED was purchased and will be used this summer at the MSU Amphitheatre before being installed in Model Hall. In October of 2022, the Health Equity Ambassador Program (HEAP) organized a “How to Save a Life” event at the Wellness Center. At the end of the event, the advisors, Heidi Super (chair, biology) and Danielle Reinisch (associate professor, nursing) were thrilled to donate a new AED to MSUWell. That AED is now hanging in Cyril Moore.

We now have 12 AEDs on campus. MSUWell will continue to write grants to hopefully accomplish our goal of getting an AED in every building on campus, including the residence halls, MSU Amphitheater, and the Herb Parker Stadium press box. As AEDs expire, we will continue to work with campus security to ensure the battery life and quality of all our AEDs on campus.

We are extremely grateful for St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation for their continued support, and to the HEAP for their donation. MSUWell is committed to the promotion of health and wellness of all who set foot on the campus of Minot State University.

Who can use an AED?

CB: Anyone can use an AED. They are extremely easy to use. In fact, 1,700 lives are saved in the United States per year by bystanders using an AED. Although training isn’t required, it is recommended to increase confidence. However, if you haven’t been formally trained, all you need to do is turn it on and follow the prompts (and make sure someone has called 911). If you’re interested in learning more about CPR and how to use an AED, contact the Wellness Center to schedule a training.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 06/16/23   

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