Students display campus HEART

30 May, 1986

The Princeton Packet 

Students display campus HEART 

By Suzanne Hagedom
Special Writer

Residents and police probably did not hear about it, but earlier this month Princeton was the site of a “plane crash” that killed three and seriously wounded at least four people. Eleven rescuers worked for two hours to give emergency first aid with whatever materials were at hand to patients suffering from burns, broken bones, amputated limbs, and head wounds. 

In reality, no plane crashed and no one was hurt — the “crash” was a first aid simulation by Health Education and Rescue Training (HEART), a Princeton University group. The student-run organization uses methods such as the simulated plane crash to teach first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other health skills. 

According to HEART director Doug Weinberg, the purpose of the organization train people to be “first responders” in health emergencies. 

“Medicine has discovered the importance of responding quickly to injuries,” he said. “No matter how good the doctors or equipment are afterward, care in the first 4 to 6 minutes after an injury is crucial. Often, a person has to provide that link.” 

Although HEART has only existed for a year, it already appears to be reaching its goal. When a graduate student received an electric shock in Princeton University’s engineering squad, a university proctor trained by HEART was first on the scene. When university freshman Steve Marquard fell from a dorm roof to his death last fall, HEART member Johnathan Taylor was first on the scene. 

HEART’s plane crash simulation, though chiefly intended to teach students to work together and decide which patients to treat first, also has had real-life applications. Five weeks after last spring’s plane crash simulation, two planes crashed in the Princeton area. HEART members were on the scene. HEART members have also given first aid in many less serious accidents, such as car crashes, broken bones, and concussions. 

To train its students to respond to real crises, unlike most standard first aid programs, HEART assumes that first aiders have no special equipment available and no access to emergency medical care. 

“The basis of being first responders is not just knowing the skills, but knowing how to use the skills. We teach judgment,” Mr. Weinberg said.

Mr. Weinberg, fellow senior Dan Ronel, and 1984 graduate Karl Roam organized HEART in the spring of 1985. All three were group leaders in the university’s Outdoor Action program — a wilderness camping program. 

Since this fall, HEART has taught nine different courses and certified almost 400 people in first aid and CPR. Most recipients have been students, but several professors, university proctors, and town residents have also earned certificates. 

According to Jack Foreman, a member of Princeton’s First Aid and Rescue 

Squad who taught most of HEART’s instructors, HEART’s simulations are the most modern first aid teaching technique. 

“It puts students in a real situation and gives them experience under pressure, which makes for a well-rounded first aider,” he said. 

The HEART organization is now taking over Princeton University’s function in first aid instruction, previously one of the McCosh Health Center’s duties. 

According to Rick Curtis, an assistant to the Dean of Students at the university, the administration sees HEART making a “very positive” contribution to the campus. 

HEART has also improved the university’s relationship to the community and especially to the rescue squad. according to Mr. Curtis. 

“Several years back, the squad and students didn’t seem to mix very well. Students were unreliable. Now they’re an important resource to the squad.” he said. 

About eight to 10 HEART members are now emergency medical technicians with the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. Although Mr. Weinberg and Mr. Ronel were on the squad before HEART started, four students recently joined as a result of their involvement with HEART.

“We’ve gotten some members from HEART who just came in this month. We’re definitely getting a benefit from them.” the squad’s Mary Ann Henderson said. 

The organization’s funding, which comes from on-campus and administrative sources, amounted to about $9,000 this year. Mr. Weinberg said that HEART wants to raise about $30,000 next year and is now trying to find a private sponsor. The organization needs to buy medical training equipment and wants to expand its services. This year, HEART had to turn some students away because its classes were oversubscribed, Mr. Weinberg said. 

Some HEART members are interested in pursuing careers in medicine. About two or three seniors in the group are going to medical schools. However, HEART students see the group as much more than preparation for careers.

“For me, the best first aid is teaching someone else — that way I treat more people than I ever could myself,” Mr. Ronel said. “Whenever I hear that someone I taught has helped someone else, I feel good inside — like I’ve been there helping, too.”

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