Free AEDs for PA schools

May 21, 2001

Schools in Pennsylvania will have a unique opportunity to acquire free defibrillators, thanks to a new program signed into law last week by Governor Tom Ridge. House Bill 996 (amending Public School Code of 1949), sponsored by Rep. Kelly Lewis, R-Monroe, provides $2.4 million in funding for eligible school districts to purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

Beginning July 1, the state will provide two AEDs to school entities that meet certain criteria. (School entities are defined as: “an area vocational-technical school, a charter school, an intermediate unit, a nonpublic school or a school district.”) To be eligible, schools must ensure that two or more persons assigned to the location where the AED is “primarily housed” are trained in CPR and the use of the AED “by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross or through an equivalent course of instruction approved by the department of health.” Schools also must submit a valid prescription, ensure that the device will be secured “in a safe and readily accessible location,” and ensure it will be maintained according to manufacturer guidelines.

The act provides that the state will issue an invitation to AED manufacturers to bid on the project and will accept the bid of the lowest responsible bidder. It also permits school entities to purchase additional devices the contract bid price.

The initiative was prompted, in part, by the sudden cardiac death of a 15-year-old high school athlete during a basketball game.

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Read the excerpt of the bill regarding AEDs by clicking here. here.