Lapid measure seeks to mandate placement of Automated External Defibrillators in public places

Lapid measure seeks to mandate placement of Automated External Defibrillators in public places

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid has filed Senate Bill No. 2474 which aims to mandate the placement of Automated External Defibrillators or AEDs in public spaces like government buildings, offices, courts, schools, public parks, and markets.

This measure seeks to help in the survival of patients with heart diseases. Paying attention to the health of our heart is a constant reminder from medical organizations like the Philippine Heart Association and the Philippine College of Cardiology. Heart diseases are attributed as among the latest top 20 causes of death in the Philippines.

One example of a life-threatening heart condition is sudden cardiac arrest. Likened to a thief, cardiac arrest, if not treated or responded to immediately, can lead to death. But survival is possible with quick and appropriate medical intervention. While cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR and basic chest compressions are staples of most first-aid training, the availability and use of defibrillators (AEDs), is not common in our country.

An AED is a portable, life-saving device designed to treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The AED system includes accessories, such as a battery and pad electrodes that are necessary for the AED to detect and interpret an electrocardiogram and deliver an electric shock. In the United States where community access to AEDs is already legislated, the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) declared that “the combination of CPR and early defibrillation is effective in saving lives when used in the first few minutes following collapse from cardiac arrest.”

“Napakadelikado ng mga sakit na may kinalaman sa ating puso pero hindi ibig sabihin magpapatalo na lamang tayo at mananatiling walang laban sa sakit na ito. Isinusulong ko na magkaroon ng mga AED sa mga opisina, paaralan, palengke at maging sa mga train station at malls dahil malaki ang magagawa nito para masagip ang mga inaatake sa puso at madugtungan pa ang kanilang buhay. Ang mga ganitong kagamitan ay dapat lang na pinaglalaanan ng pondo ng ating gobyerno dahil malaking tulong ito para sa ating mga kababayang may sakit sa puso,” Lapid explained.

The bill indicates that all government buildings, including but not limited to offices, courts, schools, public parks, markets, airports, seaports, train stations, and other transport terminals, shall be required to place AEDs in their premises, subject to the following guidelines:

a) The AEDs to be provided shall be approved and periodically inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA);

b) The placement shall come with visible signs or labels, and shall be selected to afford accessibility and reasonable responses times in case of emergencies;

c) The number of AEDs per structure, building or space shall be sufficiently in proportion to the usual volume of people occupying the same;

d) Safety and security measures shall be implemented to protect the AEDs from the elements, tampering, pilferage, theft and unauthorized use;

The placement of AEDs shall also be required in private places with high volume of people, either as occupants, workers or visitors thereon, such as hotels, resorts, casinos, malls, condominiums sports and entertainment venues, amusement parks, factories, and similar places. The guidelines stated above shall equally apply to these private places.

“Bukod sa paglalagay ng mga AED sa mga public at private spaces, kasama din sa aking isinusulong na panukalang batas ang training program na pangungunahan dapat ng Department of Health (DOH) para sa tamang paggamit at maintenance ng AED units, kasama na rin kung paano ang tamang pag-CPR. Gagawing requirement ang pagkumpleto sa nasabing training ng mga emergency response o first-aid teams ng bawat establisyemento bago sila mabigyan ng AED units,” Pinuno said.

Covered institutions and establishments shall provide information to all employees and personnel regarding AED units installed in the premises. The public shall also be made aware of these AED units and their locations through signage, posters, brochures, floor plans and various media.

The DOH shall likewise implement a public education and awareness campaign through various communication channels on the importance of AEDs in saving lives. (ai/mtvn)

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