As you can read in this article, an investigative journalist in Jacksonville, Florida is on the hunt for AED units…or lack thereof. Reporter Jennifer Waugh is asking tough questions about the availability of AED units at schools in the Duval County Public Schools. It appears some schools have AEDs and others do not, and she wants answers.
Without strict laws that include punitive consequences for not having AED programs, we find many organizations simply decide not to buy and install them. As you can see here, the AED laws in Florida are some of the most progressive in the country, yet there aren’t any specific penalties stated for failure to comply. Similarly, after an informal survey of fitness facilities in California (a state with a requirement to deploy AEDs), we’ve found that as many as 60% of clubs visited DO NOT have an AED unit available; these poor rates despite a law requiring AED units.
Why the poor adoption? Because of the perceived cost and the lack of penalties and enforcement.
Ms Waugh is doing the right thing to bring attention to this matter. If the legislature lacks the back-bone to instill penalties for failure to comply with AED mandates across the country, reporters and others have a moral duty to bring attention and, perhaps, societal pressure to this matter. After all, a parent or gym member should know if a life-saving AED is available before sending a child to school or going to the gym for a workout.