Legislation in Virginia for AEDs in Cars

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New legislation is being proposed that would increase the number of AEDs on the road.

An Automated External Defibrillator can be found in most workplaces, schools and gyms. This is because when it comes to cardiac arrest, every second matters. That’s why Dr. Jack Perkins and the Compress and Shock Foundation are pushing new legislation that would help fill the gap of where AEDs are needed.

Their hope is that if one in five cars has an AED inside of it, more lives could be saved. This means if you experience cardiac arrest at home, out at the park, or on the road, someone is more likely to have the equipment you need to survive.

The legislation would encourage Virginians to purchase an AED at the time of a new or used car purchase. After your purchase, you would receive a dollar for dollar state tax credit the following year. The bill is the center of a statewide campaign by the Compress and Shock Foundation to increase bystander CPR and early use of an AED.

“The idea is, why is it tied to a car purchase, is because we really think the only way to change survival is by putting them in vehicles and doing everything, we can to make sure that the customer knows that,” said Dr. Jack Perkins.

For every minute that someone goes without receiving help, their chances of survival decrease 10%. So if someone has a heart attack and it takes five minutes to get help, their chances of survival are now 50%. Less than 10% of victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survive neurologically intact. However, if an AED is used within 3 minutes of cardiac arrest, survival can be as high as 70%.

“Every victim of cardiac arrest deserves a chance to go back to their family. Just a chance. So we need to get to the point in our society where if you witness somebody who goes down in cardiac arrest, all we are asking is to just provide that person CPR and get an AED on them as quick as possible because that could be your loved one and they deserve that opportunity,” said Dr. Perkins.

This bill is focused on a culture change, according to Dr. Perkins. He says this is the one medical emergency where the entire outcome depends on the action of the public.

A very important piece of this legislation is education. The Compress and Shock Foundation is educating and advocating for the public to understand their role in cardiac arrest. It’s also presenting to the public all the ways they can get education for free to learn CPR and proper AED use.

Dr. Perkins is hoping that if this legislation gets passed, it will start to spread to other states. This way survival rates could increase across the entire country.

“It would be wonderful to see Virginia as the first state to adopt such legislation and spend money upfront on public health especially in something such as cardiac arrest,” said Dr. Perkins.

Roanoke City Council has adopted this bill as part of their 2022 legislative agenda and it is being co-presented by the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.

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