For Release: Monday, November 13, 2023
Contact: Jose C. Sousa, 202-286-8542, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, At-Large Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie introduced the Cardiac Planning and Response “CPR” Amendment Act of 2023, along with Councilmembers Brianne K. Nadeau, Charles Allen, Anita Bonds, Janeese Lewis George, Robert White, Jr., Zachary Parker, Matthew Frumin, and Brooke Pinto.
The proposed bill would enhance the prior law by requiring schools to develop an evidence-based cardiac emergency response plan (“CERP”) to respond to incidents involving an individual experiencing cardiac arrest or a similar life-threatening emergency while on school grounds. It would also require middle and high schools with an athletic department or organized athletic program to develop a CERP to respond to incidents involving an individual experiencing cardiac arrest or a similar life-threatening emergency while attending or participating in an athletic practice or event while on school grounds.
“We know how important a carefully orchestrated response to a cardiac emergency can be to saving someone’s life,” said Councilmember McDuffie. “Every moment counts and our students, athletes, and their families will benefit from enhancing our level of preparedness and safety for these incidents when they occur.”
In 2015, Councilmember McDuffie and Councilmember Nadeau introduced the “Office of Unified Communications Training, CPR, and Modernization Amendment Act of 2015”, which required MPD and FEMS providers to complete joint training classes with OUC call-takers and dispatchers; OUC to provide continuing education classes and training including CPR on an annual basis; OUC to implement a smartphone application to alert and summon citizens trained in CPR while medical services providers are en route to an emergency event; and OUC and FEMS to conduct a District-wide CPR training program for District students, employees, and residents.
The Council expanded upon and incorporated this bill in the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Support Act of 2016. The Public Safety Telecommunicator and District School CPR and Training subtitle additionally mandated the placement of an AED in every school that would be readily available for every athletic event; required AED use and CPR training for every athletic coach, trainer, and school nurse; and mandated public and public charter high schools to provide CPR and AED training. While this law required schools to establish procedures for responding to cardiac arrest, it did not require evidence-based, national standards to help guide these procedures.
“Only about 40% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives. When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby, said Yolandra Hancock M.D., MPH, American Heart Association, Greater Washington Region Board Member. “When seconds matter most, establishing a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan in all schools, workplaces, and sports facilities can help save lives.”
There is a national focus on ensuring that students and student-athletes can receive the same high-quality, and immediate life-saving care that six-time heart attack survivor and student-athlete Miss District of Columbia Jude Maboné, Damar Hamlin, Bronny James, Christian Eriksen, and so many others have received. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 2,000, young, seemingly healthy people under 25 in the United States die each year of sudden cardiac arrest.
This bill is supported by the American Heart Association, Miss District of Columbia June Maboné, the DC Medical Society, and the American College of Cardiology.