AED Program Expands to Children’s Center

Grace Spena and Deb Ravacon show the College's newest AED, located in the Children's Center at the Central Campus. Photo by Matt Carlin

On Jan. 19, the Children’s Center received a new automated external defibrillator, also known as an AED.  The new Philips Heartstart FRx AEDAED can be used to assist an individual having a life-threatening heart emergency, known as ventricular fibrillation.  This particular unit has the capability of being used for those ages eight and older as well as those under age eight years of age or weighing less than 55 pounds. Director of Health and Wellness Grace Spena noted that these life-saving devices have become so much easier to use through the voice guided instructions from the moment you turn the unit on.

According to Deborah Ravacon, Children’s Center Director, it is a welcome piece of equipment in the Center, “one we are glad to have but hope never to have to use.”  A training session was held by Spena for the Center’s staff members on Jan. 21 to review the use and operation of their particular unit, as well as when to activate the College’s internal emergency system and local EMS through 9-1-1. Some of the Center’s staff are also certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which includes the general use of an AED. All staff have child rescue breathing as part of their pediatric first aid training.

Spena and Ravacon noted that while there is no requirement at this time in Pennsylvania for placement of AED in Child Care Centers, some Centers have begun to obtain AEDs not so much for the younger children but for the adult employees and parents/guardians.  Most life-threatening incidents in young children are from respiratory issues. However, the progression from a respiratory emergency to a cardiac (heart) emergency in an infant/child can occur very quickly, necessitating the timely use of an AED.

Joseph McGuriman, Director of Campus Safety, noted that, at its meeting on Nov. 18, the College’s Safety & Wellness Advisory Council agreed that it would be a proactive safety measure to obtain an AED for the Children’s Center since it is in a separate building and not as readily accessible for Public Safety and local EMS responding to emergencies.

In 1999, the College was proactive in initiating the placement of AEDs at both campuses. According to Spena, many colleges and universities did not see the need for such units on their campuses at that time.  However, Spena notes that this thinking has changed significantly over the years and that you would be hard pressed to find a college or university that does not have an AED on campus now.

The College’s AED Program has expanded over the years based on its growth from building expansion, increased student population and programs, as well as increased use of campus facilities. An AED was graciously donated by Founding Board of Trustee Charles Kahn and his wife in 2003. Additional AEDs were placed in new buildings at both campuses, as well as one to support the College’s athletic program.

Locations of the College’s AEDs are as follows:

Central Campus:

  • College Hall – First floor on wall outside Cafeteria
  • Parkhouse Hall – First floor on wall near Information Booth
  • Advanced Technology Center – First floor on wall across from elevator
  • Science Center – Second floor on wall near small Auditorium 214
  • Fine Arts Center – First floor on wall next to elevator
  • Physical Education Center – First floor on wall across from Sports Equipment Room
  • Children’s Center – on wall behind receptionist desk
  • AED for Sports and Athletic events is located with athletic trainer during these activities
  • Public Safety Vehicle

West Campus:

  • South Hall – First floor on wall between Public Safety Office and Bookstore
  • North Hall – First floor on wall at main entrance

Spena also noted, that, in addition to our Public Safety Officers who certified in CPR and the use of an AED, there have been 55 employees certified through the College’s Employee CPR/AED Training program since its inception March 2009. While many in the Health Sciences programs, along with the Director of Health & Wellness, maintain current CPR/AED certification as a requirement of their professional roles, having more non-healthcare providers certified on campus can better support the College ability to respond to life-threatening medical emergencies in a timely manner.

For more information about the AED program, email Grace Spena at

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