HARRISBURG (June 9) – Participants running in Saturday’s fourth annual 5K for Aidan J. at Kerr Park will have something very special to celebrate.
Governor Tom Corbett today met with state Senator Andy Dinniman and the Silva family of East Brandywine to ceremoniously sign into law legislation that will help ensure every school in Pennsylvania has an automated external defibrillator (AED) that is up to date and ready to use.
For two years Dinniman worked closely with Steve and Christy Silva, the parents of Aidan Silva, a seven-year-old from Chester County who tragically passed away from sudden cardiac arrest in 2010, to increase the awareness of the need for AED’s in schools and pass a bill that would help put them there.
“This is a major step forward – one that would not have been possible without the Silvas and the network of supporters and heart health advocates who have worked tirelessly to see this bill passed,” Dinniman said. “Their work in turning grief into action will now help save young lives across the Commonwealth.”
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 and signed into law as Act 35 of 2014 in April.
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 And to assist schools without AED’s or with outdated AED’s, the Commonwealth will biennially issue an RFP for AED’s, negotiate a bulk-rate price, and then provide them to schools at cost.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.
“We know that AED’s save lives and now we are putting them into action to save the lives of our young people – the very future of this Commonwealth and our nation,” Dinniman said. “This is a proud day for Pennsylvania as more students, children, parents and families from across the Commonwealth will have access to the life-saving second chances that AED’s have to offer.”
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.
The Silvas organized the 5K for Aidan J. to raise funds for heart screening programs and AED initiatives. Now in its fourth year, the event has been a resounding success with more than $42,000 in funding raised last year alone.