Binghamton University named one of six HEARTSafe accredited schools

Beginning in March, Binghamton University became one of only six college campuses to receive HEARTSafe certification.

The HEARTSafe certification is a collaborative effort with the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation and the American Heart Association that was initiated in 2013.

Colleges qualify for the HEARTSafe certification when they fulfill the requirements imposed by the National Collegiate EMS Foundation, including widespread CPR instruction, public access defibrillators and aggressive resuscitation protocols for first responders and area hospitals. The certification recognized Binghamton University as a school that meets or exceeds the expectations regarding responses to cardiac-related emergencies on campus.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the first and only college to be recognized as HEARTSafe in 2013, before five more colleges joined in 2014. Binghamton University was recognized alongside Syracuse University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, University of Richmond and University of Pittsburgh this year.

“The goals of the HEARTSafe program are to promote community awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, train community members in cardiopulmonary resuscitation — CPR — and to increase public access to defibrillation,” said Brandon Azoulai, the former deputy director of Harpur’s Ferry and a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience. “In addition, a HEARTSafe campus ensures early access to advanced life support and engages in preventative cardiovascular health care activities.”

The HEARTSafe initiative dates back to 2002, when the first HEARTSafe community was formed in Massachusetts. Other states started to get involved until 2013, when the National Collegiate EMS Foundation launched the “HEARTSafe Campus” campaign, according to the National Collegiate EMS Foundation.

According to Azoulai, the requirements for a school to receive HEARTSafe certification are extensive, demanding time and training. He said that Harpur’s Ferry has been answering calls regarding cardiac-related emergencies for many years and there are over 150 publicly accessible defibrillators located all over campus.

The requirements covered response time as well as emergency response plans and scrutinized a university’s range of transportation services. The application form also inquired about CPR training and how accessible an agency’s automatic external defibrillators were to students.

Victoria Keyes, an EMT-Basic for Harpur’s Ferry, said she is proud to see BU as one of the few schools with this certification.

“To me, the HEARTSafe award means we taught enough people emergency CPR that if there was an emergency, someone nearby would be able to perform bystander CPR until Harpur’s Ferry support arrived, which is critical with patients,” said Keyes, a junior double-majoring in English and environmental studies.