INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are moving forward with new requirements for defibrillators for schools.
Senate Bill 369 requires AEDs to be located near all school athletic events and any other activities, such as theatre practice, that could put people at higher risk of cardiac arrest. It also requires school staff members to develop a response plan and perform drills.
“Many schools already have AEDs, and so it’s just making sure there’s that site specific plan, that people know what to do,” said State Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger), the bill’s author.
A similar bill was passed by the Senate last year but didn’t get a committee hearing in the House. This session, the proposal cleared a House committee for the first time after receiving unanimous approval in the Senate.
“I think what really pushed this to the forefront is when Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field,” Rogers said. said State Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger), the bill’s author.
Several parents have helped advocate for the proposal. Teresa Mago lost her 17-year-old son Zac in 2018 and later learned he had an enlarged heart.
“He was the glue that kept his siblings, his younger brother and his older sister, together,” Mago said.
She started the Zac Mago Foundation in her son’s honor to raise awareness about heart health in young Hoosiers.
“One in 300 children has an undetected heart abnormality,” Mago said.
Some teachers say they hope to see schools go further than what the bill requires.
“Just like we do for fire, tornado, active shooter [drills], it’s it’s the same safety scenario,” said Tonya Aerts, a biomedical teacher at New Prairie High School who also instructs CPR classes. “We have no trouble practicing those other things to be prepared. This is just one more thing to be prepared for.”
The bill now heads to the House floor.