Fire Caucus to reintroduce Cardiac Arrest Survival Act

Fire Caucus to reintroduce Cardiac Arrest Survival Act

Senator Slade Gorton (WA) and Representative Cliff Stearns (FL) are introducing the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 1999 (CASA) in the present Congress. The legislation would place automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in federal buildings at locations to be specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The measure would also shield AED users and other parties from civil liability.

The HHS Secretary would also assist federal agencies in implementing an AED program and developing relationships with AED manufacturers, medical directors, and local EMS agencies.

In addition to emergency medical care providers, the legislation would also exempt from civil liability individuals who acquire, maintain, and test the devices; deliver training in their use; and provide medical oversight (the physician).

Making AEDs more accessible to the general public, say medical experts, can save as many as 50,000 lives a year.

Gorton and Stearns introduced a similar measure in their respective chambers last year. Congress did not act on the bill in the last session, but the legislation generated interest at the state level, prompting more than 35 of the states to act on measures that would advance public access to defibrillation technology.

In August, the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) conducted a CPR training program for the congressional staff. This annual program generally attracts about 200 participants. For additional information, contact the CFSI at (202) 371-1277 or at (cfsi@cfsi.org) or Bill Webb at (cfsi@erols.com).

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