NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie last year requiring public and private schools to acquire, train and plan for the use of automated external defibrillators (AED) goes into effect next month.

The legislation known as Janet’s Law 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 must 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.  

Janet’s Law goes into effect just after the eighth anniversary of the death of Janet Zilinski of Warren Township. When she was 11, Zilinski suffered a SCE and died at cheerleader practice. Janet’s parents founded the Janet Zilinski Memorial Fund, which worked to gain legislator approval to create the law.