Currently, six of the University of Wisconsin’s 21 residence halls have AEDs: Dejope, Ogg, Smith, Waters, Chadbourne and now, Witte.
AEDs send electric shocks through the chest and into the heart, allowing a normal heartbeat rhythm to resume following a sudden cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. The AHA also said AEDs can often double a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
Andreas Kyrvasilis, the co-president of Cardiac on Campus, said the AEDs in Waters, Chadbourne and Witte were all donations from Cardiac on Campus.
Cardiac on Campus raises funds for these AEDs primarily through their fall Red Tutu Trot 5K. Kyrvasilis said they hope to raise enough money to install another AED next semester, ideally in a lakeshore residence hall.
“We’re looking forward to continuing working, continuing raising awareness, getting people CPR and AED certified and hopefully getting another AED within the year,” Kyrvasilis said.
Cardiac on Campus chose Witte because, despite having over 1,200 residents, it did not have an AED, Kyrvasilis said. He said an AED was not included in Witte’s renovation plans, even though they typically only cost around $1,000.
Cardiac on Campus was founded in 2015 by cousins Brittany Derynda and Jessica Miller. They were prompted to start the organization when Deryanda’s 20-year-old brother, Jon Deryanda, passed away after going into cardiac arrest upon the completion of a half marathon.
Kyrvasilis said this new AED could mean the difference between life and death for someone experiencing cardiac arrest.
“The fact is that AEDs do save lives. The statistics show that a person’s chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest decrease by 10 % every minute that an AED is not used,” Kyrvasilis said.
According to AHA, AEDs, along with CPR, are often the only way to restore the victim’s heart rhythm to normal in many cardiac arrest cases.
Cardiac on Campus also works to CPR certify Madison community members. Kyrvasilis said so far they have certified 600 people.
After installing the AED, Kyrvasilis thanked UW Campus Environmental Health and Safety, which will maintain the AEDs. He also said Cardiac on Campus is pleased with this step in the right direction.
“This is a very exciting time,” Kyrvasilis said. “We are hoping that it will never need to be used, but if needed, it’s there.”