Bill is Named after Barberton Student Josh Miller, Who Died in 2000 at Age 15 from Cardiac Arrest during a School Football Game
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, on Valentine’s Day, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced the reintroduction of the Josh Miller Helping Everyone Access Responsive Treatment in Schools (HEARTS) Act, legislation that would provide grants to schools to install and train staff to use automatic external defibrillators (AEDs.) The bill is named after Barberton, Ohio high school student Josh Miller, who died in 2000 at age 15 from sudden cardiac arrest during a school football game. Although the paramedics arrived within minutes, it was too late to save Josh.
“Sudden cardiac arrest can happen at any time and to anyone—even to young and otherwise healthy individuals, like Josh Miller, who had no history of heart problems,” Brown said. “Automatic external defibrillators are easy to use—and can mean the difference between life or death during the onset of sudden cardiac arrest. It’s critical important to have easily accessible AEDs along with individuals trained to use these life-saving devices. The Josh Miller HEARTS Act would provide resources to our schools to install AEDs.”
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 165,000 out-of-hospital deaths per year are caused by SCA—a number greater than breast cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer’s disease combined. Fortunately, the prompt delivery of CPR more than doubles the chances of survival by helping to maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain. Using an AED saves lives because it helps restore normal heart rhythm before emergency personnel arrive. Cities with comprehensive AED programs have achieved survival rates 40 percent or higher, compared to an average survival rate for victims of SCA of only 7.9 percent.
Schools that receive grants to install AEDs under the HEARTS Act must ensure that: (1) there are at least 5 individuals trained in AED use who are employees or volunteers, age 18 and older, (2) emergency personnel (local paramedics and emergency services) know where AEDs are located on school grounds, and (3) they integrate the AEDs into the school’s emergency response plan or procedure. The legislation is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Red Cross, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Safety Council, Parent Heart Watch, the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation, and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association.
“Studies show that a person’s chance for survival is reduced by 10 percent for each minute that CPR and defibrillation are delayed, so having AEDs and training provides schools with a lifesaving benefit to students, staff and visitors,” said David Markenson, M.D., Chair of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council.
The bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Betty Sutton (OH-13). The Josh Miller HEARTS Act passed the House during the 111th Congress.
“Today, we are one significant step closer to ensuring that every child in our country has access to critical life saving equipment in case of emergency,” said Sutton. “I look forward to working with my friend and colleague, Senator Brown, to bring this important legislation to the floor and make our schools safer for every American.”