The Massachusetts Legislature has passed a bill that would require every school in the state to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on site by July 2018.
The Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports that the bill calls for every school to have a person on staff trained as an AED provider. School administrators also will need to ensure that an AED and provider are "readily available at any school-sponsored athletic event."
The bill needs the signature of Gov. Charlie Baker to become law.
AEDs can deliver electrical shocks that can help the heart reestablish an effective rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest, according to the American Red Cross. It recommends that people should be within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it.
Most schools in Massachusetts already have access to AEDs, but about 20 percent of the state's schools do not have AEDs, says Allyson Perron, the senior director of government relations for the American Heart Association in Massachusetts.
The Heart Association has been pushing for some form of a school AED requirement in the state for 15 years.
Video from WFXT-TV: Family Celebrates Passage of AED bill