Defibrillators need to be required

August 30th, 2014

By Jim Madaffer

San Diego, Jim Madaffer – former San Diego councilman, helped found San Diego’s Project Heartbeat: Today, 14 states have laws requiring AEDs in health clubs while 19 states do not have any mandates surrounding AEDs, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Further, Hawaii and Oregon are the only states that require AEDs in all public schools, private schools and colleges.
These laws aren’t reflective of the protection Americans need and deserve, and the numbers prove it. More than 460,000 people die each year – more than 1,000 people every day, including 26 children – from sudden cardiac arrest in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association. Statistics also prove survivability of sudden cardiac arrest is far greater when an AED is nearby. Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez is proposing a bill to encourage all public schools to have AEDs. It’s a great reminder of the responsibility lawmakers have to ensure Americans are safe.

But it isn’t enough to just encourage schools or facilities to have AEDs. The life-saving devices need to be required everywhere, because the reality is that the chances of survival drop 10 percent for every minute defibrillation is delayed. And if we called 911 right now, it could be a good five to 10 minutes before paramedics arrive. Only 36 percent of Americans have ever seen an AED. AEDs should be ubiquitous, as common as fire sprinklers and fire extinguishers. They should be in every office, hotel, restaurant and, eventually, in every police car, bus, trolley and train. Properly maintained like a fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers, they would stand ready to save lives that might otherwise be lost. We shouldn’t have to see a loved one die before we realize an AED was needed in our home, office or child’s school.

Read the full commentary here.