[FROM PRESS RELEASE]
Legislation by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, to increase public and private access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in California, was signed on September 3rd by the Governor. AED’s are the most effective way to save heart attack victims. Senate Bill 658, which cleared the Senate last week on a 34-0 vote, streamlines state requirements that commercial building owners and public facilities need to follow to be immune from liability if they have AEDs on their property. The legislation takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Individuals, acting as good Samaritans, are already protected from liability if they cause harm while using the devices. But under current law, facilities like schools, office buildings, stadiums and shopping malls that have AEDs are only immune from liability if they meet onerous conditions, including costly training and medical oversight requirements. Current liability requirements are relics of the 1990s when AEDs did not have voice commands, pre-connected shock pads, long-lasting batteries, or voice-command CPR coaching.
New-generation AEDs are so user friendly that nearly anyone can successfully use them without training or practice. They even have a built-in computer that monitors the heart rhythm of the cardiac arrest victim to determine if a shock should be administered. SB 658 modernizes liability requirements with more basic safeguards such as battery checks, AED maintenance, AED location notification for building tenants, posting of instructions next to the device, and an annual demonstration for building tenants.