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Gov. Charlie Baker Will Sign Bill Requiring AEDs In Massachusetts Schools

Kevin J. Major

BOSTON -- Gov. Charlie Baker plans to sign into law a bill inspired by a Westfield athlete requiring every school in Massachusetts to have an automated external defibrillator on site.

"I normally don't talk about legislation that's on our desk until it's gone through a full review, but I happen to be pretty familiar with that particular bill, and we're going to sign it," Baker told reporters at the Statehouse on Monday. "I congratulate the Legislature for getting it done."

A group of families who lost loved ones to cardiac arrest spent the last legislative session advocating for the bill, S.2449, which will require every school to have an AED, a device that can shock a person's heart back to its proper rhythm after someone goes into cardiac arrest.

The bill finally passed on the last day of the 2016 legislative session and is now on Baker's desk.

One of the leading advocates for the bill was the nonprofit KEVS Foundation, a foundation founded by the family of Kevin Major, of Westfield. Major was 19 when he died in 2011 while swimming in Congamond Lakes. He had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart that can cause sudden death in young athletes.

Major's mother, Susan Canning, told The Republican / MassLive that the families had met with Baker and gotten his assurance that he will sign the bill. In an interview last week, Canning said she is "just thrilled" with the bill's passage. "It's just a win for everybody in the commonwealth," Canning said.

Unless they get a waiver for financial hardship reasons, schools will be required to have an AED in school buildings and on school athletic fields by July 2018.

Story Credit: http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/01/gov_charlie_baker_will_sign_bi.html