Benefits of UAH’s CPR class extend beyond campus


Students, faculty members, and employees – including UAH police officers – have learned important life-saving skills thanks to First Aid, CPR, and AED training offered by OEHS.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Dr. Robert Frederick gives more than just lip service to the expression safety first. The director of the Propulsion Research Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) requires all new employees and students to take First Aid, CPR, and AED training through the university's Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS).

"We work in a laboratory with hazards such as high pressures, lasers, combustion, X-rays, and chemicals," says Dr. Frederick. "So the training is valuable to us because it gives everyone an additional awareness and appreciation for ensuring that we conduct ourselves in a safe manner and also watch out for the safety of others."

This training not only helps people on campus but also those at home and in the community.

Bobby Dempsey
UAH Campus Safety Specialist

And he's not alone in his commitment. "All of our officers are required to complete the course every two years and we have four AEDs in our patrol vehicles that are ready for use should the need arise," says Captain Dianna Marshall of the UAH Police Department, adding that a CPR-trained police officer can respond anywhere on campus in about 1 to 3 minutes.

Indeed, since the OEHS began offering the class in 2004, more than 1,000 UAH employees, faculty members, and students have been trained or recertified. And most of them can thank Bobby Dempsey, who was hired as UAH's campus safety specialist in 2005, for those life-saving skills. The last ten years have also seen the installation of 75 AEDs, or automated external defibrillators, across campus.

"UAH is among the most prepared educational facility for medical emergencies in the Southeast and I would dare say the nation," says Dempsey. "The university cares about the people who work, perform research, and are educated here. And this training not only helps people on campus but also those at home and in the community."


Bobby Dempsey has trained or recertified over 1,000 people as UAH’s campus safety specialist.

Michael Mercier | UAH

That's something Dr. Frederick can attest to. Along with a UAH police officer, he was called upon to help a person exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack one evening after work. "The training helped us know exactly what to do," he says. One of his students also successfully performed CPR on a person who collapsed at a restaurant the evening after he took the class.

"Bobby is very passionate about the topic, and he helps you understand the importance of being able to respond," says Dr. Frederick. "Not that you're going to run into a burning building, but you may be in the right place at the right time. You're the first responder if anything happens whether you want to be or not - it's part of being a responsible citizen."

The class is offered twice monthly at UAH's Physical Plant Building and is open to anyone affiliated with the university. OEHS charges a small fee to cover course materials and certificates of completion, but it's a price worth paying for the peace of mind that comes with knowing how to respond to a medical emergency.

"Everyone is busy, but this is the very first step of our safety net," says Dr. Frederick. "We have to put it on ourselves to make it a priority."



Bobby Dempsey