Calif. Bill Would Reduce Liability Issues To Boost Defibrillator Access
Under state law, good Samaritans are protected against civil liability if they were to cause harm while using an AED. However, schools, casinos, stadiums and malls that have AEDs are only guaranteed such protections under certain conditions, including requirements that:
- One employee must be cardiopulmonary resuscitation-certified in each building that contains an AED, while buildings with multiple AEDs must have one CPR-certified employee for every five AEDs; and
- The devices be tested every 30 days.
Some stakeholders have said the requirements are "impossible" for building owners and schools to comply with. As a result, school administrators and building owners are hesitant to keep AEDs on their properties because of liability concerns.
Details of Bill
SB 658, by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), would reduce the requirements for having AEDs on certain properties. For example, the bill would:
- Allow AEDs to be tested twice annually, rather than every 30 days;
- Eliminate existing CPR certification requirements;
- Require principals to develop emergency response plans and provide employees with information on how to recognize cardiac arrest and use an AED;
- Require that all school employees be notified of where the devices are located; and
- Require easy-to-read instructions by the devices on K-12 school campuses.
According to the Mercury News, SB 658 so far has received bipartisan support.
In June, the state Senate voted 39-0 to pass the measure, while the Assembly Committee on Judiciary approved the measure 10-0. The full Assembly is expected to take up the measure when the Legislature resumes its session in August (Mattson, San Jose Mercury News, 8/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.