In 2012, the Legislature passed and the Governor approved legislation, “Janet’s law” which requires public and nonpublic schools to have automated external defibrillators and to establish emergency action plans for responding to sudden cardiac events. In November 2012, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) put out some guidance on the law (P.L. 2012, c.51 (A-1608)).
Specifically, the law requires public school districts and non-public schools (schools), beginning in September 1, 2014, to have an automated external defibrillator available in an unlocked location on school property with an appropriate identifying sign. The defibrillator must be accessible during the school day and any other time a school-sponsored athletic event or team practice is taking place in which pupils are participating.
The defibrillator must be within reasonable proximity of the school athletic field or gymnasium. Defibrillators must be tested and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s operational guidelines and notification must be provided to the appropriate first aid, ambulance, rescue squad, or other appropriate emergency medical services provider regarding the defibrillator, the type acquired, and its location.
In addition, after September 1, 2014, a team coach, licensed athletic trainer, or other designated staff member (if there is no coach or licensed athletic trainer), who is present during the athletic event or team practice, must be trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and use of a defibrillator. Schools are in compliance with this requirementif a State-certified emergency services provider or other certified first responder is on site at the event or practice Schools must also establish and implement an emergency action plans to respond to sudden cardiac events.
The plan must include:
- a list of not fewer than five school employees, team coaches, or licensed athletic trainers who hold certifications in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the use of defibrillators from certain recognized training programs; and
- detailed procedures for responding to sudden cardiac events.
A school district or a nonpublic school and its employees are immune from civil liability in the acquisition and use of a defibrillator.
District Guidance Available
In November 2012, the NJDOE put out a notice to districts on this, as well as other Selected School Health Mandates and Resources. Individualized guidance and assistance is available to schools, including development of district’s Emergency Action Plan for Sudden Cardiac Events is available by contacting the Office of Student Support Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.