Vitale / Madden Measure Would Require Health Clubs To Be Equipped With Defibrillators

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Joseph F. Vitale and Fred H. Madden that would require all registered health clubs in New Jersey to have an Automated External Defibrillator on site and have employees trained in its use was unanimously approved today by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

“When a person goes into cardiac arrest, the time between the onset of arrest and medical treatment can literally mean the difference between life and death,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, who chairs the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Rapid response to a cardiac emergency is key to ensuring survival. Requiring defibrillators in gyms and health clubs, where patrons might be more susceptible to cardiac distress, makes sense and will undoubtedly save lives in New Jersey.

A defibrillator is a device that provides an electric shock to the heart during a heart attack, which can help reestablish a normal heartbeat.

The Senators’ measure, S-2567, would require all health clubs to have a defibrillator on site, and also have employees trained to use the device. Under the bill, owners/operators would be required to acquire at least one defibrillator, make sure the device is tested and maintained, and arrange and pay for training to ensure that the facility has at least one employee trained to use the device at all times during business hours. Facilities would be responsible for providing notification to local first responders that the device is on site.

In the bill, a registered health club is defined as an establishment which devotes 40% of its square footage to providing services or facilities designed for the preservation, maintenance or development of physical fitness and well-being.

Any health club found violating the bill’s provisions would be subject to fines of up to $1000.

“Studies have shown that health clubs that have defibrillators and properly trained personnel can significantly reduce the number of deaths from sudden cardiac arrest for their members,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Every minute the heart is not beating reduces the odds of survival. Requiring health clubs to have defibrillators on site will help provide members with a sense of assurance that they will receive immediate intervention.”

This measure now awaits a vote by the full Senate.

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