Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) will now be available in schools and at least two staff members will be trained to use the life-saving equipment, as a result of a new bill signed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
The legislation, Senate Bill 981, was prompted by the 2007 death of 15-year-old Larry Pontbriant, a Norwich Free Academy athlete and honor student, who died after collapsing during an annual race.
There was no AED on site and he died a few days later in the hospital.
His parents, Evelyn and Larry Pontbriant, established a memorial fund shortly after his death to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and purchase AEDs for schools and athletic fields. [More information is available at their Web site: http://lpasf.org/ ]
“Beginning July 1, the law will help ensure that every school has an AED on site. They are proven life-saving devices but only if they are accessible,” Gov. Rell said during a bill-signing ceremony at Norwich Free Academy.
The law requires that a school board have an AED in each school in its jurisdiction – if funding is available.
It also allows school boards to accept gifts, donations and grants to pay for the equipment and training.
Gov. Rell also signed companion bill, Senate Bill 1089, which reduces liability issues for AED users.
According to the American Red Cross, 350,000 Americans suffer a sudden cardiac arrest each year. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if started promptly can help, but is not enough by itself to correct the problem. Defibrillation – an electric shock – is needed in more than two-thirds of all cardiac arrests to save the victim.
Posted June 18, 2009
“AED Programs Q&A” – American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3011859
“‘Memorial Run’ honors NFA student, helps fund defibrillators”
“Friends, family say goodbye to Larry Pontbriant,” http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/x643018659
“Backus Hospital will provide defibrillators for Larry Pontbriant Athletic Safety Fund”