SENATE, No. 852




DATED:  JANUARY 30, 2012


      The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 852.

      As reported, this bill broadens certain immunity provisions with regard to the acquisition and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), which can save the lives of cardiac arrest victims when administered within the first few minutes after cardiac arrest.

      In the past, individuals required training to operate an AED, but newer AEDs prompt users through the defibrillation process.  Although it would be ideal to have fully-trained individuals who know all aspects of the chain of survival required to save cardiac arrest victims, and are immediately available to administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an AED, such trained persons are not always available.  Lay persons can improve the survival rates of cardiac arrest victims through the use of AEDs.  This bill amends current law in order to encourage the acquisition of AEDs in public venues and to encourage lay persons to use AEDs.

      The bill amends the legislative findings in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.34 (C.2A:62A-23) to note the recent development of AED technology and provide the rationale for expanding immunity from civil liability regarding AEDs.

      The bill eliminates statutory language that prohibits persons from using an AED unless they hold a current certification in CPR and the use of an AED.  The bill also amends the current requirement that the person or entity acquiring an AED ensure that any person who will use the AED hold a certification, so that the person or entity instead will be required to ensure that anyone anticipated to be in a position to render emergency care or treatment using an AED hold a certification.  The bill adds language that expressly provides immunity from civil liability to the person or entity acquiring an AED for the acts or omissions of a lay person involving the use of the AED.

      In addition, the bill provides immunity from civil liability to any lay person who uses an AED and fails, in good faith, to request emergency medical assistance as soon as practicable.

      Finally, the bill makes technical amendments to section 2 of P.L.2005, c.346 (C.2A:62A-31) and section 1 of P.L.2004, c.93 (C.26:2H-12.26) in order to retain current requirements regarding AEDs that apply to health clubs, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.  These facilities must maintain a working AED on site, and their employees are required to hold certification in CPR and the use of an AED, and request emergency medical assistance when rescuing a victim in cardiac arrest.

      This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2012-2013 session pending technical review.  As reported, the bill includes the changes required by technical review, which has been performed.