Governor Signs Bill that Promotes AEDs in Connecticut Schools
Legislation Prompted by Sudden Death of Athlete and Honor Student
June 18th, 2009 – Governor M. Jodi Rell today signed a bill that makes automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) available in schools and ensures at least two staff members are trained to use the live-saving equipment.
“This is legislation is intended to do one thing—save lives, precious lives,” Governor Rell said during a bill-signing ceremony at Norwich Free Academy. “It is in the best interest of our children and our communities.”
The legislation, Senate Bill 981, was prompted by the 2007 death of 15-year-old Larry Pontbriant, a Norwich Free Academy athlete and honor student, who died after collapsing during a run. There was no AED on site and he died a few days later in the hospital. His parents, Evelyn and Larry Pontbriant, established a memorial fund shortly after his death to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and purchase AEDs for schools and athletic fields.
“Today, with this law, we can help do much more,” Governor Rell said. “Beginning July 1, the law will help ensure that every school has an AED on site. They are proven life-saving devices but only if they are accessible.”
The law requires that a school board have an AED in each school in its jurisdiction if funding is available. It also allows school boards to accept gifts, donations and grants to pay for the equipment and training. The Governor also signed companion bill, Senate Bill 1089, which reduces liability issues for AED users.
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