State Senator Len Fasano, State Representative Fritz Announce Support for Bill Providing Automatic Defibrillators for Schools

May 19, 2009

Applaud Passage of Bill out of Senate, Urge Its Passage in House

Hartford, CT – State Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and State Representative Mary Fritz (D-Yalesville) today applauded the passage in the Connecticut State Senate of SB 981: An Act Concerning the Availability of Automatic External Defibrillators in Schools. The bill requires schools to provide automatic external defibrillators (AED’s). AED’s jumpstart a heart’s natural beat after cardiac arrest and can be used in an emergency situation by bystanders with little or no training. The legislation also requires that schools develop and implement an emergency response plan to be in place in the event a student or member of the staff suffers from cardiac arrest or similar condition requiring treatment by an AED.

“Simply put, this bill will save lives,” said Senator Fasano. “From the onset of cardiac arrest time is running out to save the victim. And when every second counts like that, the sooner the victim has access to effective treatment, the better their chances for survival.”

Representative Fritz and Senator Fasano were particularly connected to the issue of making AED’s available in schools after working with constituents from Wallingford. Joan Papale and her son Mike have been pushing to put AED’s in schools since 2006 when Mike suffered cardiac arrest during a school sporting event. The Papale’s say Mike’s life was saved thanks to the quick use of an AED by emergency responders.

“Mike Papale is living proof that AED’s save lives,” said Senator Fasano. “His tireless efforts, along with the efforts of his family, to make AED’s available at schools are testimony to his belief in their effectiveness. I am proud to have cast a vote supporting this bill and urge the House to pass it as well.”

Representative Fritz (D-Yalesville), who co-sponsored the legislation, echoed Senator Fasano’s sentiments saying, “In my research and in speaking to families supporting the use of AEDs, I have discovered that most victims, if not all, are teenagers that suffer this heart problem – healthy, active teenagers. When there were AED’s available these young people survived.”

Senator Fasano and Representative Fritz also point out that the bill has little to no fiscal impact on school districts. The bill allows school boards to accept donated AED’s and to accept gifts, donations and grants for AED acquisition and staff training costs. It also stipulates that if funding is not available, the school is not mandated to comply with the legislation.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for a vote.