Legislation aims for all Pennsylvania schools have defibrillators

Legislation sponsored by a Pennsylvania lawmaker from Monroe County is aiming for all schools to acquire automatic external defibrillators (AEDs).

The state House of Representatives has passed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe/Pike counties, to establish a new AED program within the state Department of Education.The bill has been sent to the governor for final approval.

"Nearly 2,000 people under the age of 25 die from sudden cardiac arrest each year," said Brown. "Not only is it impossible to predict when a sudden cardiac arrest will occur, but there is currently no law requiring public schools to have AEDs available in case one of our students has a health emergency."

House Bill 974 would direct the Department of Education to issue an invitation for bids every two years for the costs of the AEDs. The department would then permit any school to purchase the devices at the lowest contract bid price. The ultimate effect would be that schools could obtain AEDs at significant cost savings, possibly increasing the number of AEDs installed in schools, according to Brown.

Brown's legislation would allow AEDs to be purchased with Pennsylvania Accountability Block Grant and educational improvement tax credit funds, giving schools flexibility in how they finance the purchase.

Brown said the bill was inspired by the late Greg Moyer, formerly of East Stroudsburg, who died at age 15 of sudden cardiac arrest during a high school basketball game in December 2000.

"This bill could help increase the chances of survival of sudden cardiac arrest victims in our schools, and is an enhancement to make it easier for schools across Pennsylvania to become fully prepared in this type of health emergency," Brown said.

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