"Our goal of this meeting is not to debate whether or not AEDs in schools are a good or bad idea. Instead, we want to meet with people who have successfully initiated school-site AED programs to see what has worked for them so we can formulate appropriate recommendations," said Mary Newman, executive director of NCED.
An AED is a small portable device that analyzes heart rhythms and advises the operator, through computerized voice instructions, when to push a button to deliver a potentially lifesaving shock to a victim in cardiac arrest. They are safe, effective and easy to use. Most AEDs today are no bigger than a laptop computer and weigh less than 10 pounds. Many experts agree that if a victim can receive a shock within a few minutes of collapse, there is a much better chance for survival.
Several parent advocates who launched successful school-site AED programs in memory of their children will attend the forum to share their personal stories. These parents represent Project Adam in Wisconsin, the Ken Heart Foundation in Ohio, the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation in New York and the Gregory Moyer Defibrillator Fund in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, free AEDs were made available for schools through the Pennsylvania Department of Education Act 4 of 2001, which was signed by former Governor Tom Ridge, established a one-time AED program to assist schools with acquiring AEDs. As a result, each school district in Pennsylvania was offered two free AEDs and each intermediate unit and area vocational-technical school was offered one free AED. In addition, AEDs were made available to other school entities including no