"Gov. Charlie Baker said he plans to sign a bill by Friday requiring that all schools have automatic defibrillators.
Why is it important?
It will mean that every school in Massachusetts will be required to have lifesaving automatic external defibrillators on hand by July 2018. A defibrillator is used to restart the heart after sudden cardiac arrest - when the heart unexpectedly stops beating.
The bill will help protect students and others with unknown heart problems, especially those involved in athletics. "We are thrilled," said Allyson Perron, the senior director of government relations for the American Heart Association in Massachusetts. Perron has personally worked on the mandate for the past 11 years.
Michaela Gagne Hetzler, a school adjustment counselor at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fall River and a cardiac patient herself, has been a long-time advocate of the bill.
"It's pretty awesome," Hetzler said. "Quite simply, it saves lives.""
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