November 9, 2007–WASHINGTON, DC–U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) announced today that Congress approved funding for a program they set up to assist schools in purchasing and providing training on automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Feingold and Collins introduced an amendment to the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bill last month to fund the Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory (ADAM) Act. The ADAM Act, which Feingold and Collins got signed into law in 2003, was inspired by Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old high school student from Wisconsin who collapsed and died from an undiagnosed heart condition while playing in a basketball game. The ADAM Act funds a national clearinghouse to help schools set up public programs that provide access to AEDs and provides schools with technical guidance and appropriate training.
“I’m pleased that Congress has agreed to fund this important program so more schools and communities across the country will be prepared if tragedy strikes,” Feingold said. “The ADAM Act is one way we can honor the memory of children like Adam Lemel, and give tomorrow's pediatric cardiac arrest victims a fighting chance at life. The more we can do to educate our schools and communities on how to obtain and operate AEDs, the more lives we can save.”
“We have all heard stories of children suffering from cardiac arrest at school or during a sporting event, as well as instances where a school-age child is the first witness to a cardiac arrest or heart attack,” said Senator Collins. “Many of these victims’ lives could be saved if more people implemented the ‘Chain of Survival’ which includes early CPR and defibrillation. The clearinghouse proposed in the ADAM Act will respond to the growing number of schools that have the desire to set up a public access defibrillation program, but often don’t know where to start.”
Feingold and Collins are also hailing Congress for an increase in funding of the Rural AED program. This program, which the Senators got enacted several years ago, allows community partnerships across the country to receive a grant enabling them to purchase defibrillators, and receive the training needed to use these devices. At $2.5 million, the legislation will secure even more grants to help save lives in rural communities and train even more first responders to use these devices.