(TRENTON) – Aiming to better prepare higher education institutions in New Jersey to respond to medical emergencies on campus, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats James Kennedy, Jamel Holley and Wayne DeAngelo to require automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in certain locations on campuses was recently approved by the Assembly Higher Education Committee.
“AEDs are used to deliver an electric shock through the chest to the heart, which can restore a normal heart rhythm following a sudden cardiac arrest,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “Someone who experiences a sudden cardiac arrest must be treated very quickly, because their chance of survival drastically drops by 10 percent with every passing minute until they receive a shock. By placing these potentially life-saving devices in strategic locations on college campuses, we make them more easily accessible for trained responders who can address the emergency.”
The bill (A-1368) would require institutions of higher education to place an AED in an unlocked location in every athletic facility and student center with an appropriate identifying sign. The defibrillator would be located within reasonable proximity of the intuition’s athletic fields and be accessible during normal operating hours of the athletic facility or student center.
“Sudden cardiac arrests can happen with little warning, and can strike seemingly healthy people of all ages, includes college students and athletes,” said Holley (D-Union). “AEDs are the only treatment for sudden cardiac arrests. It makes sense to install these devices on college campuses attended by thousands of people each day.”
“AEDs are usually carried by emergency medical personnel and some police officers, but too often they arrive at the scene too late to use the defibrillator in the short window of time it takes to be effective,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “Quick response is critical. Having an AED already on hand may help victims of sudden cardiac arrest receive the medical attention they need faster.”
Under the bill, higher education institutions would be required to ensure that at least two staff members who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of a defibrillator are in the athletic facility or student center during normal operating hours. Additionally, each defibrillator would be tested and maintained according to the manufacturer’s operational guidelines, and notification would be provided to the appropriate first aid, ambulance, rescue squad or other appropriate emergency medical services provider regarding the defibrillator, the type acquired, and its location.
An institution of higher education and its staff would be granted immunity from civil liability in the acquisition and use of a defibrillator.
The measure was approved January 17. It heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.