UVM safety chief starts plan to put AEDs in dorms

Editor’s note: This story was updated 6:15 p.m. Sept. 16 to correct a title and clarify the nature of the presentation. 

Michael Schirling, chief safety and compliance officer at UVM, said in a Sept. 6 SGA meeting that he plans to put automatic external defibrillators in all campus dorms as part of a presentation on a greater ongoing initiative to address general campus safety. 

Currently, no residence halls have AED access, he said. In the coming years, UVM will roll out a program to place them in every dorm to give emergency access to lifesaving equipment as they are an important part of overall safety. 

Schirling is the replacement for Gary Derr, former UVM vice provost for operations and safety, who retired last spring, according to a May 24 UVM press release. Putting defibrillators in every dorm is part of his plan to improve campus safety, Schirling said. 

“We’re looking at [the] safety, security, health assets the University has and trying to organize them in a way that makes them easy to navigate, easy to access,” he said. 

Thus far, Schirling has built a budget for the program and will shortly be talking with Richard Cate, vice president for finance and administration, about investing in it, he said. 

Alongside these opening plans for AEDs, Schirling is also looking to improve upon the Blue Light system, he said. Already, the Office of Emergency Management has updated the LiveSafe app to include a mobile Blue Light function.

Many Blue Lights were implemented in the past without strategic placement, resulting in an unequal distribution across campus, he said. Schirling wants to make the system more mindfully designed. 

Considering the likelihood that every residence hall would have someone with a heart condition or have an emergency occur, putting AEDs in the dorms is a fantastic idea, said SGA Senator Eli Smith, a junior.

“There’s no reason that I can think of that they wouldn’t have already been there,” Smith said. “So the fact that this is being addressed is crucial and very good.”

SGA Senator Evan Siegel, a junior, believes this project will be incredibly beneficial when enacted, he said. 

“It’s probably gonna take time to do that because it takes time to do everything here,” Siegel said. “But it’s such a good policy and idea. […] It’s another way to modernize our campus.”