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AED Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross are celebrating the passing of a bill that encourages Missourians to use Automated External Defibrillators in cases of emergency. KSMU's Matt Evans has more.

The bill removes barriers to put more Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, in the state of Missouri. The bill also allows the general public to use an AED in a time of emergency. An AED is a lightweight portable device that delivers an electric shock to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. Bonnie Linhardt is the Missouri State Advocacy Director for the American Heart Association.

"Well, an AED is so important because if you do not act within minutes when someone goes into a cardiac arrest, their chance of surviving drops by seven to ten percent for every minute that a normal heartbeat isn't restored," said Linhardt.

With the passage of this bill, Linhardt says Missourians will hopefully see more AEDs in public. If someone is unsure of how to use an AED, Cox Health offers AED training courses. Beth Keith is the instructor of many of these courses.

Keith walks her students through a step by step process on how to properly use an AED. Keith says she thinks the passage of this new legislation will help make residents more aware of those AEDs that are already accessible in public places. Keith also says the AEDs are completely safe and only provide a shock when one is needed.

"AEDs, I would say, don't be afraid of them. They're very easy to use. They won't shock unless a shock is needed, so it's not a device that you can pull off the wall and put on your friend and play around and shock somebody. And that's a misconception that I see," said Keith.

The bill now awaits the Signature of Governor Nixon. For more information about AEDs or this new bill, you can go to www.americanheart.org or www.redcross.org. For KSMU News, I'm Matt Evans