WEST CHESTER (April 11) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that legislation is heading to the governor’s desk that will help ensure that every school in Pennsylvania has an automated external defibrillator (AED) that is up to date and ready to use.

“This piece of legislation is especially close to my heart. For two years I have been working closely with the family of Aidan Silva, a seven-year-old from Chester County who tragically passed away from sudden cardiac arrest in 2010, to pass this legislation,” Dinniman said. “I must credit the Silvas and thank the network of supporters and heart health advocates who have worked tirelessly to see this bill passed. Their work in turning grief into action will now help save young lives across the Commonwealth.”

Pictured (from left to right) “Dr. Victoria Vetter, a cardiologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Steve, Devon and Christy Silva; and Senator Dinniman at a rally in support of legislation to ensure that Pennsylvania schools have AED’s.

Pictured (from left to right) Dr. Victoria Vetter, a cardiologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Steve, Devon and Christy Silva; and Senator Dinniman at a rally in support of legislation to ensure that Pennsylvania schools have AED’s.

Earlier this legislative session, Senator Dinniman introduced Senate Bill 606, which was dubbed “Aidan’s Law” in honor of Silva. The language of that bill became House Bill 974, which was overwhelmingly approved by the legislature this week and sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.The legislation calls for the Commonwealth to create a registry of AED’s in public and private schools, including their age and condition. And to assist schools without AED’s or with outdated AED’s, the Commonwealth will biennially issue an RFP for AED’s, negotiate a bulk-rate price, and then provide them to schools at cost.

To further lessen the cost for school districts, the legislation lets school districts use Pennsylvania Accountability Grants and Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) funds to purchase AED’s . The bill also gives the General Assembly the discretion to annually set aside funds to further assist school districts in purchasing AED’s.

AED’s drastically increase the chances of survival for children and adults who suffer sudden cardiac arrest. The goal when sudden cardiac arrest strikes is to get to an AED and back to the victim within two to three minutes, according to the American Heart Association. It further says that when CPR only is performed on a victim prior to the arrival of EMT’s, there is a less than 5 percent chance of survival. But when an AED is used, the chance of survival jumps to 74 percent or better.

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