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January 22, 2004

SAC to sponsor CPR courses

The Staff Association Council (SAC), through Pitt’s Student Health Service, is offering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training classes for Pitt employees.

Jim Lyle, chair of the SAC safety and security committee, reported Jan. 14 that employees can sign up for any of four courses:

• The health care provider course, which covers adult, child and infant CPR training, coupled with choking response care for those groups and use of the automatic external defibrillator (AED) device. The course is designed primarily for people planning careers in the health care field and lasts approximately six hours. The cost is $30 per person.

• The heart saver course, designed for lay rescuers, covers adult, child and infant CPR and foreign body airway obstruction. The course lasts about four hours and costs $20.

• The heart saver AED course covers similar content to the above course, plus proper use of the AED. The course lasts approximately four hours and costs $25.

These three courses also discuss disease and injury prevention, as well as tips for healthy living and heart care. All three carry two-year CPR certification.

• A two-hour non-certified lecture on CPR, which costs $5.

To sign up for any of the courses, contact Lyle at 4-6218 or by Feb. 16. Courses require a minimum of four enrollees.

The courses will be taught by certified American Heart Association instructors at the Student Health Service, Suite 500 Medical Arts Building.

Ronald Bennett, Pitt campus police officer, demonstrated the use of the AED at the SAC meeting. All campus police cars are equipped with an AED, and the devices are wall-mounted in select areas of the campus, including most computer labs and the Petersen Events Center, Bennett said. Although operating instructions for the AED are self-explanatory, people without CPR training should not use the device, he cautioned.

Ron Frisch, associate vice chancellor for Human Resources, said Pitt’s goal eventually is to equip each building on campus with at least one AED. But the cost per device is between $2,500 and $5,000, so the University will add to its inventory gradually, he said. “The first step in any emergency always is to call an emergency response number” (811 from any campus phone; 911 from other phones), Frisch maintained. “All our campus officers are trained in emergency response, including the AED, and they are in communication with emergency response units at hospitals.”

Lyle also reported on his committee’s campus pedestrian safety initiatives. The safety and security committee is represented on the University Senate’s community relations committee working group examining pedestrian safety issues. (See Jan. 8 University Times.) “I have forwarded the data we’ve collected” to the working group and to the city, including individual complaints from staff and photographic documentation of dangerous areas, Lyle said.

The mayor’s office now has assigned a contact person to track Pitt’s complaints to the city’s traffic engineering department, which handles traffic and pedestrian safety issues, he said. “John Tokarski Jr., who is project coordinator of [the city’s] Operation Weed & Seed project, will keep us informed on the status of the city’s response to various areas we have flagged,” such as those with poor signage, unpainted cross-walks and areas that need re-paving or other maintenance.

“We’re also looking into what other campuses have in place regarding pedestrian safety,” Lyle said. Staff may submit complaints directly to Lyle or on-line via the SAC web site:

In other SAC developments: • Ann Ostroski, chair of the research and information committee, reported on efforts to promote professional development for staff members.

Currently, Ostroski is gathering opinions on what training classes are needed and related issues. Staff can contact her at 628A Crabtree; 8-9417;

Ostroski said her committee wants to improve access to staff training; to educate staff members on alternative training and development options, including workshops, classes and certificate programs; to ensure that release time is granted according to University policies, and to make recommendations to Pitt’s administration on viable training options.

Updates will be posted on the SAC web site (, and information will be distributed at SAC meetings and through articles in the SAC Tracks newsletter and other Pitt publications, Ostroski said.

• SAC is supporting a winter hat and glove drive, initiated by SAC member Linda Howard. The drive will benefit a McKeesport-based shelter for abused women and their children.

“Most of these people are in transit and so the shelter has a constant turnover,” Howard said. “Many of the women are in hiding and move around quite a bit. We’d like to provide them and the children with some winter gear when they leave the shelter.”

Donations of new winter hats, gloves and scarves, as well as used items in good condition, should go to Howard at 416 CL by Feb. 13. For more information, contact Howard at 4-6608.

• Pitt-Kennywood Day is set for Aug. 1. Details will be announced at a later date.

—Peter Hart

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