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Bill aims at protecting students from heart attacks

Published On: Jun 28 2013 04:45:57 PM EDT


Pennsylvania is one step closer to better protecting its students from cardiac arrest.

Legislation authored by Rep. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) recently passed unanimously in the House Education Committee.

That legislation would  require schools across the state to hold public hearings to consider acquiring automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) for their school buildings.


“Sudden cardiac arrest is a deadly force that strikes unexpectedly without any forewarning, and we have personally experienced it at one of our local schools in 2000,” said Brown. “My legislation would help ensure that our schools give the attention to AEDs through hosting public hearings.”

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

If enacted, House Bill 974 would give "school entites" 90 days to assemble a public hearing regarding obtaining AEDs. Representatives from the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross would be invited to participate in those  hearings.

The bill explains a “school entity” would include vocational and technical schools, charter and cyber-charter schools, intermediate units and public school districts.

“I live and breathe AEDs every day,” said Moyer. “We know AEDs can save kids, and it’s so important that schools recognize the need to purchase AEDS, just as they would recognize the need to buy classroom iPods or a smart board.”

Last year, Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation to protect student athletes from sudden cardiac arrest through passage of Act 159 of 2012. Act 159 requires coaches, parents, sports officials and athletic trainers to be aware of symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest and require a medical examination and clearance for students who display such signs during practices or games.

“House Bill 974 aims to help protect our children, staff and educators during a medical emergency,” said Brown. This legislation now heads to the full House for consideration.