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AED initiatives move forward

Congress and the federal agencies have been proactively moving forward on several initiatives concerning automated external defibrillators, or AEDs. The Building Owners and Managers Association International has been tracking these issues with great interest and has prepared the following status report. Each of these initiatives provides monetary incentives to broaden implementation of Public Access Defibrillation programs at the state and local levels.

Community AED Act of 2001

This legislation would authorize over $55 million annually for grants to communities for public access defibrillation programs and public access defibrillation demonstration projects in areas where cardiac arrests are likely to occur. The bills are designed to encourage private companies in the community to:

* Purchase automated external defibrillators and train employees in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency defibrillation,

* Provide for a national clearinghouse to provide information to promote public awareness,

* And promote public access to defibrillation in schools.

The Senate approved the legislation on Feb. 6. The Senate bill (S. 1275) has 15 co-sponsors and is supported by a coalition of 25 national public health and safety groups.

On Dec. 12, 2001, Energy and Commerce Committee members Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., introduced the House version of the bill (H.R. 3462), which has more than 25 co-sponsors.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

In December 2001, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration urged employers to consider making AEDs available in the workplace. This action was in response to a "prompt letter" sent to OSHA from the Office of Management and Budget last September, requesting that OSHA "consider making AEDs a priority."

As a result, OSHA issued a technical information bulletin on the use of AEDs, encouraging employers to take advantage of the lifesaving technology.

Cardiac Arrest Survival Act Funding

In May 2001, as required by statute in the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, guidelines urging the implementation of Public Access Defibrillation programs in federal buildings were finalized by the General Services Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. Congress has approved a $1 million allocation toward the implementation of the public access defibrillation programs in federal buildings.

Rural AED Funding

Last year, the Rural Access to Emergency Care Act (H.R. 3450) was signed into law, authorizing the federal government to expand access to AEDs in rural areas. Grants would be made available to community partnerships consisting of local emergency responders, police, fire departments, hospitals and other community organizations to purchase AEDs and train potential responders in their use. This year, Congress approved $12.5 million to fund this program.

BOMA recently began to work closely with the American Heart Association on a variety of efforts relating to AEDs and the implementation of public access defibrillation programs nationwide.

Kimball, Esq., and Welch, RPA, are co-chairs of the BOMA San Diego Government Affairs Committee.

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