A law requiring all K-12 public and non-public schools with students to have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on school grounds was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie.
The legislation, known as Janet's Law, was sponsored by state Sen. Robert Singer who said he was glad to see four years worth of work brought to fruition. "This action by the legislature and administration is long overdue to prevent tragic student-athlete deaths due to unexpected cardiac arrests," he said. "I am proud that after several years, we finally achieved this law in Janet Zillinski's memory, assuring her heartbreaking passing wasn't in vain."
Singer said the devices will be a major benefit without carrying a great cost.
"While we continue to hope such tragedies are rare, we've seen enough reports to know that the unpredictable can strike at any moment like during a jog at cheerleading practice," he said. "Swift access to AEDs can mean the difference between life and death."
The AEDs will be mandatory in schools for the start of the 2014 school year and must be accessible during the day and during after school activities.
School emergency action plans also will have to list at least five school employees, coaches or trainers who are certified in CPR and in the use of the devices according to Singer's office. Emergency action plans also will list the person responsible who will respond to cardiac events and contacting emergency services.
Some local schools already have the devices in most if not all of their schools. Superintendent Enid Golden of the Howell Public Schools said they have the AEDs in all their buildings. They also instruct all eighth graders in the district on how to properly perform CPR.
"AEDs are now affordable, user-friendly and necessary," Singer said. "For between $1500 and $2000, schools will be prepared to save students lives."