Senate approves Goodwin measure to require defibrillators in large public gathering spots
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin to require an automated external defibrillator and qualified person to administer it at all public places capable of holding 300 people or more.
The bill (2017-S 0777) will now be forwarded to the House of Representatives.
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) analyzes a person’s heartbeat and, if necessary, delivers an electrical shock to the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.
“Defibrillators save lives,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence). “They are safe, relatively inexpensive and provide users automated guidance to help them use them effectively while waiting for emergency responders to arrive. Keeping them handy where big crowds gather greatly serves public health in Rhode Island, and could very well mean the difference between a tragedy and a situation where a visitor is saved.”
She added that grants to purchase the devices can often be obtained through organizations or government programs.
About 325,000 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest annually and more than 95 percent of them die before reaching the hospital. In Rhode Island, an estimated 1,000 residents die of cardiac arrest every year.
If defibrillation is performed within five to seven minutes of cardiac arrest, chances of survival are increased by 49 percent. Every minute that goes by without defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 7 to 10 percent.
According to the American Red Cross, improved training and access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year. The Red Cross supports efforts to ensure that all Americans are within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it.
Last year, the General Assembly enacted a law requiring AEDs at all middle and high schools in the state.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903