Although Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the number one cause of death among student athletes on school property, AEDs are not yet required in PA schools. Senator Katie Muth, a former athletic trainer, is determined to change that. And she wants to do it the right way, by providing a comprehensive program to best ensure that AEDs are accessible and that school staff know how to use them. Over the summer, we worked with the Senator to create a program for all 124 schools in her senatorial district as a pilot that can pave the way for implementation across the state of Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, November 2nd, we were with Senator Muth as she announced the program.
Layer in the effects of COVID-19, we’re seeing some of the issues coming out related to cardiovascular impact, some that we may not yet know about, and the importance of having and AED onsite…this is why, today, we’re announcing a $354K grant as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)…that will place new AEDs in each school building in senate district 44. — Senator Katie Muth
It was a tremendous moment, after years of working to make AEDs more readily available in our schools, to see this first step taken in our hometown community. We are grateful to Senator Katie Muth and her staff, Christopher Saello and United Way of Chester County for supporting our efforts, Dr. George Fiore and Chester County Intermediate Unit for overseeing the implementation of this program, and Downingtown Area School District Principal Tom Mulvey for speaking to the very real fact that many of our state’s schools are not yet adequately prepared for a cardiac emergency.
Our response to…is really driven by an individual (student’s) medical health plan. As we know from the screenings conducted by Aidan’s Heart Foundation, there are so many kids that have heart issues that their parents don’t even know about. For the ones that we know about, we may have a plan for medical response. The issue is, it’s more likely to happen to a kid that we don’t know about, and there’s a chance that the school may not be trained, or have an AED. What this program is looking to do is to provide a systematic response to an emergency that can happen in any school. — Tom Mulvey, Principal, Downingtown Area School District
Most of all, we’re proud of the kids– DASD students Dylan Blair, Louis Oswald, Will Shook and Sebastian Villarose and a handful of other youth who have raised funds to make their own schools and athletic organizations heart safe. And once again deeply grateful to SCA survivor, 24-year-old Blair Allan, for bravely telling her story and standing before us as living proof of why AEDs are essential to have at the ready where kids learn and play.
This program is a jump-start effort to make AEDs accessible to all schools in Pennsylvania, to improve data collection methods to ensure that AEDs are up to date, and to provide training opportunities for school staff to best increase chances of survival from Sudden Cardiac Arrest on school property.
When we return to session in January, I’ll be introducing legislation that replicates this program across the Commonwealth to ensure that all school buildings are properly equipped with a life-saving AED device. — Senator Katie Muth
Schools desperately need AEDs and people who know how to use them. Our kids are worth it.