On March 29, Congresswoman Shelia Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced The Access to AEDs Act, a bipartisan bill with the potential to save lives. The bill directs the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to elementary and secondary schools in partnership with non-profit healthcare organizations.
The grants will support the development and implementation of programs that promote access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools. Funding can also be used to purchase and maintain AEDs, replace outdated CPR and AED equipment, and provide training to students, staff and related sports volunteers.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects 23,000 youth in our country every year with student athletes being three times more likely to experience SCA. Ensuring that schools have the proper equipment, plan and training for students, teachers, coaches and volunteers can have a huge impact on the number of youth who survive sudden cardiac arrest. Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates go from 10% to 50% when an AED is used.
LEGISLATION SUPPORT Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, issued the following statement:
“Each year, nearly 600,000 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest, with a survivability rate of less than six percent outside of hospital settings. We have much work to do to train people in CPR and ensure that communities across the country have access to AEDs. This is particularly important where youth are participating in sports, given that young athletes are 3.5 times more likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest than non-athletes.
The American Red Cross is grateful to Congresswoman Cherfilus-McCormick for continuing to raise awareness of the importance of both access to AEDs and CPR training. Her Access to AEDs Act can help save countless lives across the country with vital equipment and training. We urge Congress to recognize the importance of this legislation and pass it quickly, to improve access to this equipment and training and to save lives.”
This legislation is supported by a number of health and sports related non-profit organizations including Who We Play For, NCAA, Parent Heart Watch, Simon’s Heart, Heart of the Game, Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation, American Heart Association, Youth Sports Safety Alliance/National Athletic Trainer’s Association, and the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
Additional information regarding the bill is available.