WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28, 2023 — Bipartisan congressional legislation to be introduced tomorrow would fund schools for lifesaving equipment and training to respond to sudden cardiac arrest. Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla) and Congressman Bill Posey (R-Fla) will introduce the Access to AEDs Act, which would extend access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs), increase CPR training and enable the creation of cardiac emergency response plans in schools across the country. The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives for all, has endorsed the bill and urges swift congressional action to save lives in communities nationwide.
“An estimated 350,000 people in the United States experience sudden cardiac arrest outside of the hospital each year, and 1 in 300 youth has an undetected heart condition that puts them at risk. Having community members trained in CPR, making AEDs available in schools and encouraging the development of emergency response plans will make schools better prepared to respond to sudden cardiac arrest and save lives,” said Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association. “We greatly appreciate Reps. Cherfilus-McCormick and Posey for their work to prioritize heart health with the introduction of the Access to AEDs Act, which will promote access to defibrillation in elementary and secondary schools by supporting lifesaving training programs for students, staff and school volunteers.”
The Access to AEDs Act would authorize a grant program to support CPR and AED training in K-12 schools; purchase AEDs for use in schools; foster new and existing community partnerships to promote the importance of defibrillation in schools; and establish cardiac emergency response plans, which establish specific steps to reduce death from cardiac arrest in school settings.
At an event hosted by Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick on Capitol Hill tomorrow, Brown will be joined by Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game on Jan. 2 and survived after receiving immediate CPR and defibrillation. Hamlin has since teamed up with the American Heart Association to launch his #3forHeart™ CPR Challenge aimed at saving more lives through CPR education and training.
Also scheduled to attend the event are former professional tennis player and French Open Champion Murphy Jensen, The Matthew Mangine, Jr. Foundation President Matthew Mangine, Sr., and representatives of the National Football League and other major sports leagues, as well as bipartisan congressional supporters of the bill.
“This bill would enable schools in every community across the socioeconomic spectrum nationwide to strengthen their cardiac emergency response – including schools serving predominantly Black and Hispanic populations,” said American Heart Association volunteer President Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, the Walter A. Haas-Lucie Stern endowed chair in Cardiology, professor of medicine and admissions dean at University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. “Black or Hispanic adults who experience a witnessed cardiac arrest outside the hospital are substantially less likely to receive lifesaving care from a bystander.”
The event will begin at 12:15pm ET on Wednesday, March 29. RSVP to join the livestream.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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