Brennan: AED requirement for state buildings would save lives

HARRISBURG, Feb. 1 – By introducing a proposal to require every state building in Pennsylvania to be equipped with an automated external defibrillator (AED), state Rep. Tim Brennan, D-Bucks, hopes more lives of people experiencing cardiac arrest will be saved. It is the first bill to be proposed by the freshman representative.

“The recent news about Allegheny County native and Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin’s tragic injury and subsequent out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has drawn international attention to the need for widespread availability of AEDs,” said Brennan. “The chance of surviving a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital is as low as 10 percent, so every second counts. Damar was saved by CPR and the use of an AED on the field.”

The use of an AED significantly improves the odds of survival for someone in cardiac arrest and reduces the possibility of permanent impairments. Unfortunately, despite available technology, an AED is used outside of hospitals only about 6 percent of the time.

Having quick access to an AED increases the odds that an individual experiencing cardiac arrest will survive. According to a 2018 study published in Circulation, the American Heart Association’s journal, those suffering from cardiac arrest in a public setting are twice as likely to survive if a bystander utilizes an AED before emergency help arrives.

While Hamlin’s experience was the result of bodily trauma, cardiac arrest can be caused by many different factors and can come on suddenly and unexpectedly.

“Our main job as public servants in the state government is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Pennsylvanians – sometimes at a moment’s notice,” continued Brennan. “That’s why the first piece of legislation I’m introducing as a lawmaker is to make sure that government buildings are equipped with an obviously displayed and regularly maintained AED.”

According to the American Heart Association, public settings are the second most common places where people experience cardiac arrest, behind homes and residences.