STATE OF NEW JERSEY - Two new state laws that go into effect Sept. 1, 2014l will have an immediate effect on New Jersey students, teachers and administrators, said Mathiew Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. These laws require New Jersey school districts and students to be more prepared for potential cardiac emergencies, such as heart attacks.
The American Red Cross is offering school districts a series of trainings, action plans and access to automatic external defibrillators (AED) to help them comply with the new laws.
About 2,000 Americans under the age of 25 die of sudden cardiac arrest each year, according to a 2012 study in the journal Pediatrics. The American Red Cross believes that these two laws can help avoid unnecessary deaths in our schools and ensure that our high school students have the necessary training to help fellow citizens suffering from a cardiac emergency until trained medical help arrives.
New CPR Requirement for All Graduating High School Seniors
- Beginning with this school year, all graduating high school seniors will be required to pass a CPR course as part of their high school curriculum. The Red Cross and other organizations are working with public and private school districts across the state to implement this requirement.
- Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno signed the bill on August 20, 2014. The bill, sponsored by Senators Diane Allen (Cinnaminson) and Joseph Vitale (Woodbridge) and Assemblymen Angel Fuentes (Audubon) and Patrick Diegnan Jr. (South Plainfield), was passed with broad bipartisan support.
- The Department of Education is working on regulations to implement the law.
- New Jersey is one of three states in the country to implement such a law. The others are Illinois and Oklahoma.
- People who want to find a Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class can go to redcross.org and visit the “Take A Class” page. Group training can be scheduled by filling out the request form on www.redcross.org/JanetsLaw.
The Implementation of Janet’s Law
- Janet’s Law seeks to better prepare schools in case of a sudden cardiac emergency. The law was enacted to commemorate Janet Zilinski, an 11-year-old cheerleader from Warren, N.J. who died in 2006 after suffering sudden cardiac arrest at her school.
Janet’s Law requires all school districts (public and private) have:
- An AED (an automatic external defibrillators) on site;
- At least five school employees certified in CPR/AED;
- An emergency action plan for a sudden cardiac event;
- The AED located in an accessible, unlocked location (such as outside the school gym) with appropriate signage above the unit;
- Signs throughout the school directing people to the AED;
- EMTs or other first responders at all practices or events if trained school employees are not available.
- Although signed into law in 2012, schools did not need to be in compliance until September 1, 2014. The Red Cross in New Jersey has been working with school districts to offer them a “one-stop solution,” that includes specific training in CPR and AED usage for coaches, instructors and administrators; emergency action plans that can be adapted for local needs; and access to AEDs. For more information, visit RedCross.org/JanetsLaw.