MIT became the first college in the country to be officially honored with a HeartSafe Community designation on Wednesday, May 10, in the Student Center.
The HeartSafe Community Program is an initiative by the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) and the Emergency Medical Care Advisory Board to recognize efforts to provide survival technology for residents and visitors. These include automatic defibrillators -- electrical devices that can restore a normal heartbeat during a heart attack -- as well as the training needed to use them.
MIT's first public automatic defibrillator has been in place in the Student Center for a couple of months. On May 10, John Guidara, executive director of the Metro Boston Emergency Medical Services Council, presented MIT with road signs to be installed on Massachusetts Avenue indicating the HeartSafe designation.
Junior Rachel Williams, chief of MIT's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and sophomore Jonathan Liu, of the American Red Cross Team and Network of MIT (ARCTAN), officially received the signs.
"Receiving designation as a HeartSafe community is a great honor to the dedication of everyone who worked for it. The effort was tremendous, and MIT-EMS is proud to represent the MIT community as we strive for a safer campus," Williams said.
Dale Cotton (S.B. 2005), a member of MIT-EMS, was one of the driving forces behind installing the defibrillators, said Maryanne Kirkbride, clinical director for campus life. "It is the story of how the vision of a hard-working engineering student, then alum, ignited fellow students, alumni, faculty and staff around the goal of ready access to life-saving care on campus," Kirkbride said.
Many campus offices and groups besides MIT-EMS and ARCTAN were involved in bringing the defibrillators to campus, including the Department of Facilities, MIT Medical, MIT Police, Information Services and Technology, Environmental Health and Safety, the Department of Student Life, the Campus Activities Complex, Human Resources, the Information Center, Sodexho, the Alumni Association, DAPER and others, Kirkbride said.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 17, 2006 (download PDF).