Local first responders from Collin, Denton, Dallas and Tarrant counties as well as the American Heart Association and AED 123 gathered on Tuesday morning outside of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton to celebrate and discuss new legislation to encourage businesses and organizations to purchase and maintain Automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
Senate Bill 199 states that effective Sept. 1 businesses and organizations with AEDs will be responsible for monthly maintenance to ensure the AED is ready to use. Businesses and organizations that keep AEDs on the premises will not be held liable for civil damages related to the use or the failure to use the automated external defibrillator unless the conduct is willfully negligent.
Additionally, training every employee will no longer be a prerequisite for a business or organization to obtain an AED.
House Bill 786 will require 911 dispatchers to have training in giving over the phone CPR instruction to bystanders trying to revive a victim of cardiac arrest.
“We were surprised when we talked to many businesses who said they understand the lifesaving power of AEDs but didn't want one because they were concerned about liability and the cost in training,” Bobby Wehmeyer, CEO of AED 123 said.
Wehmeyer started AED 123 in 2018 to help businesses maintain AEDs in their establishments. He said he had a passion for them after his dad’s life was saved by one while on vacation.
Wehmeyer said each year around 32,000 Texans die to cardiac arrest. It was ranked as the most common out-of-hospital death.
“If you have a cardiac arrest where there is no AED, and you have to wait 10 minutes on an ambulance, your chances of survival are less than 10%,” Bobby Wehmeyer, CEO of AED 123 said. “If you have a cardiac arrest, and it's used quickly – in a couple minutes, you will have a 93% chance of living.”
Cardiac arrest survivors Julie Coon and JV Lattimore shared their experiences of being revived from cardiac arrest and how instrumental CPR and an AED was to saving their lives.
“We are pleased that SB 199 and HB 786 will soon become state law, and we're grateful to the Texas legislatures whose hard work led to this occasion,” Carrollton paramedic Caleb Rosier said.