School staffs will learn how to save lives by correctly using an automated external defibrillator (AED) under Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi’s legislation which was passed by the General Assembly today. Schepisi’s bill, A-1264, requires that school districts adopt policies to train designated staff on the use of defibrillators.

“Life-saving equipment should be more than just a fixture,” said Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic. “Learning how to respond to a cardiac arrest is just as important as following the guidelines during a fire drill. Response time is critically important when a cardiac episode strikes. With proper training and access to a defibrillator, tragedies can be prevented.”

Schepisi cited an instance last spring where an athlete’s heart stopped during track practice at Pascack Hills High School. While a coach administered CPR, the athletic trainer used a portable defibrillator which restarted the athlete’s heart and saved his life.

Under “Janet’s Law,” which was signed in September 2012, public school districts and nonpublic schools must ensure that an AED is available in an unlocked location on school property. The AED must be accessible during the day and any time a school-sponsored athletic event or team practice is taking place.