Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) Program

General Information

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can occur at all ages. The only treatment of SCA is defibrillation such as that provided by an automated external defibrillator (AED). In the United States more than 350,000 people die each year from SCA before reaching a hospital. In many cases SCA can be reversed with early defibrillation. Defibrillation involves shocking the heart with an electric current that allows the heart to reestablish its normal rhythm. To be most effective, defibrillation must occur as soon as possible after the onset of SCA. The chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest decreases by 7-10 percent per minute until defibrillation. AEDs have been shown to be easy to use (by nonmedical personnel), are safe, and are effective in saving lives.

Ithaca College has implemented a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) program following the American Heart Association and NYS Department of Health guidelines. These guidelines call for automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be installed throughout campus to ensure greater public availability. The earlier someone in cardiac arrest receives treatment (i.e., CPR and/or AED shock), the greater his/her chance of survival. The PAD guidelines recommend that an AED be readily accessible for use within three minutes from anywhere on campus.

AED Operation and Training

Unlike manual defibrillators used in hospitals and by paramedics, the AEDs that are installed throughout the campus are extremely easy to operate. The devices use clear graphical and spoken instructions. The AEDs analyze the victim's condition and, only if warranted, deliver an electric shock to the heart to reverse SCA. The devices are extremely safe with no risk of inappropriate shock given to individuals who are not in SCA or to the person operating the AED.

Several hundred Ithaca College employees (e.g., public safety officers, athletic department coaches and trainers, Fitness Center employees, and health center employees) have completed the requirements to be CPR/AED certified. You do not need to be certified to use an AED: if you choose to assist someone you believe is in need of an AED, you will be covered under the Good Samaritan law. However, CPR certification can be very important to know when using an AED. If the AED delivers an electric shock, the device will then prompt you to administer CPR. Additionally, emergency medical personnel may not be able to arrive before the device prompts you to administer CPR.

Public Safety

Currently the Office of Public Safety has one AED in each marked patrol car and in Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) truck #504. Dial 911 to report any and all medical emergencies and to report their location to public safety 24 hours a day.

AED Cabinet Security

To allow AED accessibility to anyone, the devices must be left loose in unlocked cabinets. Each cabinet is equipped with a high-pitched local alarm that sounds when the cabinet door is opened and is silenced upon securely closing the door.

In addition to the local alarm, the cabinet doors are wired to send an immediate emergency notification to the public safety dispatcher. It is essential that someone also call public safety (911 or 4-3333) to report the exact location of the emergency so officers can be promptly directed to the scene.