University officials: Most emergency defibrillators on North Haven campus are out of service

Cat Murphy, Staff Writer

Only one-quarter of the automated external defibrillator units located on Quinnipiac University’s North Haven campus are operational, an investigation conducted by the Chronicle revealed.

AED units are “portable, life-saving devices designed to treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The devices use electric shock to restore heart rhythm, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Nine out of the 12 total AED units on the North Haven campus have been out of service since at least Oct. 28, the Chronicle found. Each of the inoperable units is marked with an out of order sign directing individuals to contact public safety for assistance.

Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning Sal Filardi said that supply chain issues have prevented Quinnipiac from repairing the automated external defibrillators on the North Haven campus. (Jack Spiegel)

Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning Sal Filardi did not say how long the AED units had been out of service. It is also unclear how long the devices will be inoperable.

“The AEDs are an older model and we are having a difficult time getting the parts needed to repair,” Filardi wrote in an email to the Chronicle on Nov. 4. “I have instructed the facilities team to look into the cost for replacement with newer models.”

In an interview with the Chronicle Oct. 31, Filardi attributed the devices’ inoperation to supply chain issues.

Six AEDs located in the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences are out of service, the Chronicle’s investigation revealed. The units outside rooms MNH-129B, MNH-145A, MNH-158K and MNH-232 are out of order. The AEDs beside the third-floor entrance to Stair 4 and inside the fitness center in room MNH-193 are also out of service. 

The building’s three remaining AED units, located outside rooms MNH-247, MNH-342 and MNH-441B, appear to be in working order, according to the Chronicle’s investigation.

The Chronicle also found that none of the three AED units located in the School of Law seem to be operational. The units located outside rooms SLE-209B, SLE-309B and SLE-409B are marked as out of service.

Each inoperable device appears to have been inspected as recently as February 2022 by Facilities Compliance Services LLC, according to the inspection tags. FCS maintains Quinnipiac’s AED units. 

More than 356,000 people in the U.S. experience sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospitals each year, according to the American Heart Association. The likelihood of surviving sudden cardiac arrest decreases by 7-10% for each minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation or defibrillation, according to OSHA.

According to a study conducted in 2018 by the AHA, sudden cardiac arrest victims who received treatment from a publicly available AED were more than twice as likely to survive than individuals who received defibrillation after emergency medical services arrived.

Connecticut law requires each institution of higher education to install at least one centrally located AED in its athletic facilities. However, institutions of higher education are not otherwise required by state law to install AED units.

The National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation recognized Quinnipiac as a HEARTSafe campus in February 2022, according to Quinnipiac Today.

The organization founded the HEARTSafe Campuses in 2013 to acknowledge college communities that promote and support, among other things, “rapid public access to defibrillation,” according to NCEMSF.

“The intent of this program is to recognize quality campus-based EMS organizations and their communities and hold them out as examples to other campuses as a means to improve overall cardiac arrest care,” NCEMSF states on its website.

NCEMSF did not immediately respond to the Chronicle’s request for comment.