Meet Connecticut AED law expert Doug Comstock

Douglas Comstock is the Connecticut AED law expert for Cardiac Science and the Cardiac Science AED Specialist for Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.

Here Doug explains the Connecticut AED legislation that Governor Jodi Rell’s signed on Connecticut AEDs in Schools.

Doug, what does the Connecticut AED in Schools legislation mandate?
The Connecticut AED in Schools legislation mandates at least one automated external defibrillator (AED) and at least one trained AED responder, provided that the school has money in the budget.

“Provided that the school has money in the budget” sounds like a pretty big loophole. Does the Connecticut AED for Schools law have any “teeth” to it?
I would strongly advise AED Connecticut schools to find the money and there are many ways I can help there. (Email Doug for information how to fund your Connecticut AED program.)

I say “I strongly advise” because of the following scenario.


Connecticut AED Law Expert Doug Comstock

An AED sells for around $1,500. God forbid a child goes into ventricular fibrillation and has a sudden cardiac arrest, it’s going to be pretty hard for any school to withstand a legal challenge from the student’s parents that the school couldn’t find $1,500 in the budget for an AED.

Imagine that same school gets uniforms for the sports team or scenery for the dramatics society. The lawyer would be able to turn around and say, “You had money for uniforms and scenery, but not for the AED that could have saved this student’s life?”

It’s not a position I’d want to be in.

That sounds like a strong argument.
It is a very strong argument and one that really resonates with every school that reaches out to me.

Remember, the CT AED law doesn’t say you have to go out and buy 20 AEDs and cover the entire campus. It only says you have to have one. (Whether you should have more is another matter.)

When you compare the $1,500 certain cost of one AED against the cost of a potentially losing a child and a potential million-dollar settlement, the decision to buy one AED is obvious.

Is the Connecticut AED law for schools applicable to all schools in the state of Connecticut?
No, the Connecticut AED law covers grades K-12 and only for public schools.

What do you say to someone who says the law is excessive?
Oh, I have a lot to say about that.

The most dramatic argument I can make to a parent is “what if that were your child”?

Second is education. Few realize that 7,000 children die every year to sudden cardiac arrest in America. Seven thousand! And that’s just the children. Every single day there are hundreds of parents and grandparents dropping off and picking up students, faculty members, and visitors to the campus. I would think our schools should be the place you’d find a defibrillator!

Third is this perspective. On every floor of every school, you have fire extinguishers. Schools are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on fire suppression systems. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a school burn down.

I read a statistic that there are 96 sudden cardiac arrest deaths to every fire death in America. I honestly believe that, in the next ten years, we are going to see AED placements as prevalently as we see fire extinguishers. I know that San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is working toward having an AED near every fire extinguisher. And I know they’ve already saved more than 60 lives. I think they have the highest sudden cardiac arrest save statistics in the country.

Thank you, Doug, and I look forward to continuing this conversation.
I would advise your readers to email me if they have any questions about the Connecticut AED law or getting an AED into their school system. I have ideas about sources for donations, fund raising, and more. The $1,500 should not be an impediment to any school ready and willing to comply with the measure signed into law today.

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