Malfunctioning AEDs in Bldgs. 16 & 4 fixed

Malfunctioning AEDs in Bldgs. 16 & 4 fixed

Two Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machines, one in Building 16 and one in Building 4, were out of order for a month starting in the middle of December. By Jan. 16, both machines were deemed fully functional.

In addition to functioning as defibrillators, MIT’s AED boxes are designed to sound an alarm upon being opened and place a phone call with the location of the machine to MIT Police. During the time that the two machines were nonfunctional, they were still able to perform defibrillation, but did not alarm upon being opened or call the MIT Police.

At the end of December, police discovered the AED machine in Building 16 missing and its box lying open. However, police had no record of a call. The machine was mysteriously found in its box three days later, and it is still unknown whether this temporary theft was for a prank or for the expensive equipment.

MIT Facilities and MIT Emergency Medical Services determined that these inactive alarms presented a safety hazard, and the machines were labeled with signs describing them as nonfunctional and directing people towards the nearest functional machines.

Brandon S. Russell G, the Director of Ambulance Operations at MIT EMS, says that AED machines must be used in conjunction with CPR. “Many heart attacks are caused by fibrillation, which is when the heart is beating, but … spasming,” Russell said. “So sometimes when CPR is not working, the AED is designed to stop the electrical activity … AED use where there is no CPR is very bad.”

Russell said that it was lucky that there were functional AEDs nearby. The machine in Building 4 required a short walk to another machine near the Student Services Center, and the closest functional device to the machine in Building 16 was located in the Stata Center.