|Florida has for some time had in place a law requiring AEDs on the school grounds of Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) members. The governor recently signed legislation amending this law.
Under the updated law:
Let's break this down operationally.
- FHSAA members must have an operational AED on school grounds and available "in a clearly marked and publicized location for each athletic contest, practice, workout, or conditioning session, including those conducted outside of the school year."
- Beginning June 1, 2021, a school employee or volunteer with current CPR/AED training, and who is "reasonably expected to use an AED," must be present at each athletic event.
- FHSAA members are required to register the location of each AED with the local emergency medical services medical director. And each employee or volunteer who is a trained expected AED user "must annually be notified in writing of the location of each defibrillator on school grounds."
- FHSAA members must have AEDs at specified athletic activities. That is a plus. But each school will effectively need to have "roving" AEDs that go where the events are. These will necessarily not be fixed-placement AEDs. So, how is it logistically possible to clearly mark and publicize transient AEDs? Or annually notify expected AED users of transient AED locations? It isn't.
- Who is an "expected AED user" anyway? These people will necessarily change over time. And this law's training requirements, like so many similar laws, creates a perception that only formally trained people can retrieve and use AEDs. This unfortunately limits the pool of potential rescuers available when sudden cardiac arrest occurs.
- The law requires each AED to be "registered" with a local medical director. Why? the purpose of this registration is not described and the medical director is not required or authorized to do anything with this information. Unlike many other states, Florida (to its credit) does not impose AED location reporting requirements on workplace and community AED programs. For schools, that must meet this requirement, this is another example of an AED law burden with no benefit.
As before, the updated law references two immunity laws as applying to these school AED deployments. As before, Florida's applicable Good Samaritan laws offer very, very little protection to either the schools or AED users.
The AED Law Center has been updated to reflect these changes. Click here to view the final bill.
Posted on behalf of Richard Lazar, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Advisory Council Member