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Red Cross Supports Bill to Raise AED Awareness
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Shilpika Das
 
February 14, 2008

In an effort to equip schools with the right tools to handle life-threatening situations, U.S Rep. Betty Sutton is rallying support and lobbying fellow lawmakers to ensure that every school in America is provided with an automated external defibrillator (AED), a portable, lifesaving device.

A defibrillator shock is the single most effective treatment for a sudden cardiac arrest. Because most sudden cardiac arrests result in death within minutes, every second is critical. An AED could be vital in saving someone’s life. (Photo Courtesy: American Red Cross)
A defibrillator shock is the single most effective treatment for a sudden cardiac arrest. Because most sudden cardiac arrests result in death within minutes, every second is critical. An AED could be vital in saving someone’s life.
(Photo Courtesy: American Red Cross)

In a press conference held this afternoon, Rep. Sutton – flanked by other members of Congress, medical professionals and representatives from the American Red Cross and other non profits – asked for support for the Josh Miller HEARTS Act (Helping Everyone Access Responsive Treatment in Schools). The Josh Miller HEARTS Act would establish a grant program to ensure every elementary and secondary school in the country can obtain one of these lifesaving devices.

The bill is named in memory of Josh Miller from Barberton, Ohio, who died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest during a high school football game. Josh’s life could have been saved if an AED had been available at the time of his collapse.

An AED is a small, portable device that delivers a potentially life-saving electric shock to a victim suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. This shock, called defibrillation, may help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm of its own. AEDs are simple to use – most have voice prompts to alert the user when and if a shock should be delivered to the victim – and have built-in safety features that make it nearly impossible to use the device incorrectly.

Implementing preventive measures like an AED will help schools provide immediate assistance to cardiac arrest victims – increasing their chances of survival. Statistics show that more than 200,000 people in the US die of sudden cardiac arrest every year. Up to 50,000 of these deaths could have been prevented if an AED had been available for immediate use at the time of the emergency.

Click here for more information about Rep. Sutton’s awareness campaign. For more information on AEDs and AED training programs, visit www.redcross.org. Red Cross First Aid, CPR and AED programs are available for all age groups.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross provides relief to victims of disasters at home and abroad, collects and distributes nearly half of the nation's blood supply, teaches lifesaving skills, and supports military members and families. The American Red Cross, a charity and not a government agency, depends on voluntary contributions of time, money and blood to perform its humanitarian mission.



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