CLARK, NJ - Legislation signed by Governor Christie last year requiring public and private schools to acquire, train and plan for the use of automated external defibrillators (AED) goes into effect in just a few weeks. Janet’s Law, as it is best known, requires an AED appliance on school property in an unlocked location within a reasonable distance of gymnasiums or athletic grounds with signs that clearly identify the device. The AED has to be accessible not only during the school day but during practice and any school sponsored athletic event. A staff member, coach, EMT or other CPR/AED certified personnel must be at events and practices as well. This legislation also requires schools to develop an Emergency Action Plan. This strategy has to include numerous details for how a sudden cardiac event (SCE) will be managed and responded to by school personnel.
The Clark School District has been working toward compliance of this new law. As part of the preparations, Superintendent Kenneth Knops announced at a recent Board of Education meeting that the Clark Public School District had purchased 19 AED devices. He said that they will be in each school and also on buses with students when they attend events outside the district.
Janet’s Law goes into effect just after the eighth anniversary of the death of Janet Zilinski from Warren, New Jersey. Only 11 years old at the time, Janet suffered a SCE and died at cheerleader practice. Janet’s parents founded the Janet Zilinsski Memorial Fund, which worked to gain legislator approval to create this law.