This past week was the American Heart Association’s National CPR and AED Awareness Week. It is an occasion to remind us all how vital it is to be trained in CPR and in the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator). When someone falls victim to sudden cardiac arrest, every minute without bystander CPR decreases 7-10 percent. The interval between the 911 telephone call and the arrival of Emergency Medical Services personnel is usually longer than five minutes. Without CPR being initiated, and the use of the life-saving shock delivery of an AED, a victim simply will not survive.
Our House of Representatives clearly understands the importance of this training. On Tuesday, June 2, they passed the Josh Miller HEARTS Act, bringing the nation one step closer to a more secure environment for victims of cardiac arrest. Specifically, the legislation creates a grant program for schools to purchase AEDs.
New York has saved 44 lives since passing Louis’ Law – state legislation named after Louis Acompora who fell victim to commotio cordis while playing lacrosse in 2000. His heart went into cardiac arrest and there was no AED on site to save him. As a result of Louis’ Law, every school is required to have an AED on its campus, with someone trained on staff to use it.
New York’s congressional delegation carried the message from Louis’ Law to our nation’s capitol this past week. They all voted, unanimously, to support the Josh Miller HEARTS Act, named for a 15-year-old student who also died tragically of cardiac arrest while at school. New York’s Representatives showed a tremendous unity in support of this vital initiative.
The next step is to encourage the U.S. Senate to introduce the bill. On behalf of the American Heart Association, I look forward to the support of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. What better way to put an exclamation point on National CPR and AED Awareness Week than by passing the Josh Miller HEARTS Act and ultimately saving lives all across the country!
Go to www.yourethecure.org to learn more ways to help.
American Heart Association Volunteer
Louis J. Acompora