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First Aid for Universities: Who Needs It and Why

Performing first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in an emergency situation before trained emergency help arrives can often mean the difference between life and death. A CPR guide is handy, but not nearly as effective as expert CPR certification and training.

On college campuses, where the constant hustle and bustle of student events, athletics and activities may lead to the occasional accident, being prepared for the unexpected is vital – for some individuals more than others. The following five individuals, due to the nature of their jobs or college-focused activities, may want to consider seeking first aid certification and/or CPR training.

  1. Resident assistants

    On call nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, resident assistants (RAs) deal with a wide variety of accident-prone situations. For example, on moving days, summer heatstroke, dropped furniture and box cutter accidents, among other scenarios, can create a multitude of emergency situations that may require an RA to have knowledge of first aid or CPR techniques.

  2. Athletic support staff

    Collegiate athletic teams require support and strategic involvement from all members of the coaching and training staff. Though a training staff member can manage first aid procedures for most rolled ankles, sprained wrists, bruises and cramps, more serious accidents require more advanced skills. It’s important that coaches, trainers, and even athletic office support staff be familiar with CPR techniques and trained in AED (automated external defibrillator) use, should a medical emergency require their use. 

  3. Sorority and fraternity members

    For many university campuses across the country, Greek life and participation in sororities and fraternities is a significant part of the college experience. Living “in the house” for sororities and fraternities is just like living in a residence hall – emergency medical situations may sometimes occur. By training one or more house members in first aid and CPR techniques, sororities and fraternities can decrease delays in treatment during emergency situations.

  4. Intramural and recreation center staff

    Many students are also active in intramural sports. Though specific sports may vary from school to school, most college campuses offer anything from tennis and basketball to volleyball and softball.

    As with collegiate athletics, accidents can happen. But with adequate first aid training and the ability to follow CPR instructions, intramural staff can quickly and efficiently provide assistance while waiting for emergency medical help to arrive.

  5. Foodservice staff

    Every day, student unions serve food and beverages to a vast majority of students. Quick response of kitchen staff to food preparation accidents and choking is essential to make sure that anyone experiencing a food-related emergency is safe and secure (Also – if blood is involved – it’s critical to prevent any further contamination of food). Quick response is possible if kitchen staff are certified in first aid, CPR, AED use or containment of bloodborne pathogens.

Beyond the CPR guide

Although each of these campus groups should definitely have the proverbial CPR guide handy, being able to automatically spring into action with the right first aid tactics may let them quickly diffuse a medical emergency and possibly save a life. To learn more about training the crucial people on your campus with first aid training, CPR and AED training and bloodborne pathogens training through online courses, visit the course overviews. 

The information included in this article is based on the 2020 guidelines for CPR, first aid and advanced cardiovascular care. Read more about the 2020 first aid guidelines.