Governor Signs Defibrillator Bill

Governor Rick Perry came to Houston today to ceremonially sign a new state law that requires Automated External Defibrillators on every public school campus in the state. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

Click to Listen

In the ceremony today at Booker T. Washington High School, Governor Perry said several high school athletes have died of heart attacks in recent years, and it's important to have these devices out where they can save lives.

"Knowing that each one of our schools has this miracle machine available for a child who is stricken by cardiac arrest, and that we can save their lives, makes the cost of this miniscule, in the grand scheme of things."

Houston school superintendent Abe Saavedra says HISD got out ahead of this bill early on, and every HISD school already has at least one AED. Many high schools have several.

"Our largest schools, specifically our high schools where we have a lot of athletic events, there's as many as four or five of these pieces of equipment out in the athletic areas and inside the main building. We also require our coaches to have this equipment with them at every practice session, as well as whenever they have a game in the district or outside the district."

The legislature provided $16 million to buy AED's for every school in the state and train school personnel in how to use them. The new law also calls for screening children for heart problems in elementary grades before they go into athletics. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.