SDSU receives life-saving devices

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

Suppose someone goes into cardiac arrest in front of you. What would you do? Calling 911 is logical, but now there is another option, thanks to two new defibrillators recently installed on campus.

If you’ve ever seen an episode of ER, then you’ve probably seen how the shock-inducing defibrillators are used to make a still heart beat.

“[It sends] an electronic impulse conducted through pads on a person’s chest to a person’s heart that is not beating,” said Susan Olson, a nurse practitioner and physician’s assistant at the Student Health Services.

Olson was one of several people who worked on a grant application in order to get the defibrillators, which typically cost $1,500 to $2,000. The school now has a total of four on campus.

Both of the new defibrillators, donated by the Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue and the Sioux Falls United Way, are equipped with a health kit. The kit includes scissors to cut open the shirt, a razor for shaving chest hairs, rubber gloves, a breather to use for mouth-to-mouth respiration and a towel to wipe off the chest.

With time as the essence, the location of the defibrillators is crucial.

“We’re trying to get them strategically located across campus,” Olson said.

The football team uses the portable defibrillator. One is located in Frost Arena and another in West Hall — where the Student Health Center is located. The fourth defibrillator will be placed at the Performing Arts Center in the next couple of weeks.

“Usually it’s essential to have a response time of five minutes or less. That’s when you have the most success,” Olson said. “Pretty much at 10 minutes you’re toast. Having it there immediately is essential.”

Having the defibrillators on campus doesn’t do any good if people don’t know how to use them, but Olson said the defibrillators are voice-activated so it makes them easy to use.

“Once you open it up to start activating it, it tells you exactly what to do,” she said.

Staff and student assistants will be trained to use the defibrillator in West Hall.

“It’s going to be added annually to the CPR and training that we do every year,” Olson said.

Even with the hope that the defibrillators are rarely used, they are a must-have if an emergency occurs says Olson, who worked in an ambulance crew.

Defibrillators may be required in many different situations, she said. Vehicular accidents, for example, can cause the heart to beat irregularly.

Another situation is one that Blake Seeds, a student offensive line coach, is familiar with: football training.

“The training is getting so intense. It’s almost like a meat grinder,” Seeds said.

Seeds, going into his second year as a member of SDSU’s Helping Everyone Reach Optimal Health (H.E.R.O.H.), is aware that the size of the football players is another issue.

“The line is getting bigger. We’re not saying these guys are obese or fat. We’re just saying they’re large men,” Seeds said. “If something were to happen to one of our guys, that thing can save lives.”