University Public Access AED Program

The American Heart Association estimates that 446,000 people in the US fall victim to sudden cardiac arrest annually. A person experiencing cardiac arrest has no pulse indicating that the heart has suddenly stopped beating. As minutes pass, heart muscle dies and the body's vital organs are deprived of oxygen rich blood. A person receiving a defibrillation, an electric shock which is aimed at restarting the heart, within 2 to 3 minutes has a 90 percent greater chance of surviving than someone who does not receive this shock. The only device that can provide this shock is an AED.

The goal of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program is to increase the survival rate of individuals who have suffered sudden cardiac arrest. AED programs are designed to provide equipment and training as an important means for providing enhanced life saving response measure. AEDs make it possible for lay rescuers to administer defibrillations prior to the arrival of Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad administers the University Public Access AED Program (PAD). In its current state, the program consists of 70 AEDs placed throughout the Blacksburg campus in highly visible, high pedestrian traffic areas. AEDs have been purchased with support from the Virginia Tech Parent's Fund. Once purchased, VTRS maintains the AEDs through regular inspection and replacement of parts. VTRS provides 24/7 response to maintenance requests.

A permanent method of funding an expanded program is yet to be identified. To that end, departments are encouraged to purchase AEDs for their areas. With units currently on state contract, pricing is significantly discounted. The average cost of a new AED site is less than $1,500.

VTRS recommends that each building be equipped with an AED. The goal is to place an AED within three minutes of any building location. Planning and programmatic support is available from the campus AED manager as administered by the Rescue Squad.

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and AED training is strongly recommended although the approved AED unit is designed for lay person use. VTRS regularly offers both courses and group classes are available at your convenience.

For more information, contact the campus AED manager, Sahal Thahir, at

Download Departmental Information Fact Sheet

Virginia Tech Rescue Squad
Military Building, Barger St. (0245)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Web Developer: Johnny Wen
Emergency DIAL 911
Phone: (540) 231-7138
Fax: (540) 231-6254
540-231-6411 (cell phones)

When do I call for an ambulance?
Is the victim's condition life-threatening or could it worsen and become life threatening on the way to the hospital? Could moving the victim cause further injury? Does the victim need the skills or equipment of emergency medical technicians? Would distance or traffic conditions cause a delay in getting the victim to the hospital?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, or if you are unsure, it's best to call an ambulance. EMTs are trained to begin medical treatment on the way to the hospital and can alert the doctors of the patients condition in advance.

Example warning signs:
Severe burns, bleeding that won't stop, severe or persistent vomiting, coughing up or vomiting blood, suicidal or homicidal feelings, difficulty breathing, chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure, fainting or sudden collapse, sudden dizziness, weakness or change in vision, change in mental status