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Five Quad leads CPR training for residential life staff

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The University at Albany required all Residential Life staff to complete a CPR training course this summer, a shift in policy from last year when several RA’s said they were instructed to never touch students in the event of an emergency.

UAlbany’s volunteer ambulance service, Five Quad, sparked the change, offering to perform the training for residential assistants, graduate assistants, residential directors, and other staff in ResLife following the spring semester.

“This idea came up during our Board of Directors meeting as a potential effort to get as many people as possible trained in hands-only CPR,” said Carolyn Solimine, president of Five Quad. “ResLife staff seemed like a great option due to their presence in the halls.”

In May, the Albany Student Press published an article in which four RAs confirmed their superiors instructed them to never touch a student during a medical emergency like a heart attack or choking event.

Carol Perrin, director of Residential Life, said at the time that this was a misunderstanding and no such policy existed. She indicated that the problem would be cleared up in the fall.

The university had plans to train staff to use automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), and according to Five Quad leadership, plans to provide CPR training were finalized in early summer, after the article was published.

The training, held on Aug. 20 and 21, furthers the debate over how extensive an RA’s job should be.

“At some point an RA can only be expected to do so much,” said Perrin in May when pressed why RAs were not currently being trained in CPR or First Aid.

At the CPR training last month, staff practiced on rubber dummies and received instruction from Five Quad volunteers. However, the training did not qualify as a CPR certification, a process defined by the American Red Cross with specific procedure and time spent training

Solimine said that though the training wasn’t Red Cross certified, they still taught ResLife staff basic skills which could potentially be lifesaving in an emergency.

“God forbid something happens to one of my residents, I’d be trained and prepared to know how to handle that situation, so I think that’s good,” said Celine Thompson, a shift leader and RA, the week before the training. “Usually we have to wait for Five Quad and we can’t touch them. Now that we’re trained maybe we’d be able to do something if need be.”

The training was held over two days, with each staff member spending about 20 minutes actively training with Five Quad.

“It’s definitely an excellent step forward to make the campus a safer place,” said Solimine.


Joe Hoffman is the managing editor for the Albany Student Press.

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