Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst Ceremonially Sign Bill Requiring Schools to Have Defibrillators on Campus
AUSTIN - Today, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, visited schools in Austin, Houston and San Antonio to ceremonially sign Senate Bill 7, which requires every public school campus to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) readily available at all University Interscholastic League athletic practices and competitions. Equipping schools with AEDs will increase the survival chance for students who may suffer from cardiac arrest while at school or participating in athletics.
"In a state that has long set the national standard for athletic competition, this bill establishes a benchmark for student safety by requiring the presence of an essential life-saving device at school activities," said Perry. "Texas knows the importance of putting our students first by taking common sense steps to reduce risk, and improve the chances of survival."
Each year, approximately 250,000 people die due to coronary heart disease without being hospitalized. Most of these deaths occur suddenly and are caused by cardiac arrest. A victim's chance of survival is reduced by 7-10 percent with every minute that passes without treatment. The American Heart Association estimates that more than 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. In cities where defibrillation is provided within 5-7 minutes, the survival rate from cardiac arrest is as high as 49 percent. According to a report by the House Research Organization, 15 Texas students have died from Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the last 10 years.
"Senate Bill 7 makes a significant investment in our children's safety and well-being. And it's an investment that will give parents peace of mind as their children leave for school every morning and most importantly, will save lives," said Dewhurst. "Not only will students benefit from having this life-saving technology close at hand, but also teachers, faculty, visitors and virtually anyone visiting a school campus or attending an athletic event."
SB 7 requires each school to have a defibrillator on campus and an individual present who is trained to use the device. Beginning this year, certain school personnel and students will be trained in the proper use of an AED and administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Additionally, the State Board of Education will include instruction in CPR and AED as part of the essential knowledge and skills of the health curriculum. The Texas Education Agency may accept donations to assist in the cost of providing this instruction. Private schools that accept AEDs or TEA funding for the devices will be subject to the same requirements for training.
"A defibrillator in every school in Texas will result in more lives saved after sudden cardiac arrest," said Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, author of Senate Bill 7. "In addition to protecting the safety of our children, educators will also now have access to this life saving technology in their schools."
According to the new law, schools, school district officials and others who might be called upon to use an AED will have immunity from liability. The bill also requires TEA to establish a cardiovascular screening pilot program to screen 6th grade students beginning this school year.
Senate Bill 7 took effect June 15, 2007.