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Melanie J. VanOverloop
Melanie J. VanOverloop
Attorney • 877) 216-4213

Illinois Law Requires AEDs at Physical Fitness Facilities – AEDs Save Lives

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An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.  AEDs make it possible for more people to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required. Because AEDs are portable, they can be used by non-medical people. AEDs are safe to use by anyone who’s been trained to operate them. Studies have shown that 90 percent of the time AEDs are able to detect a rhythm that should be defibrillated. And 95 percent of the time they are able to recommend NOT shocking when the computer shows defibrillation is not indicated. The use of an AED after cardiac arrest is important because a victim’s chance of surviving drops by 7 to 10 percent for every minute a normal heartbeat isn’t restored.

Illinois is one of the states that enacted a law which requires certain public places to have AEDs. The Illinois Automated External Defibrillator Act states that timely attention in medical emergencies saves lives, and that trained use of automated external defibrillators in medical emergency response can increase the number of lives saved. It was the intent of the Illinois legislature to to encourage training in lifesaving first aid, to set standards for the use of automated external defibrillators and to encourage their use. The Act establishes rules for training on AEDs as well as maintenance and oversight of AEDs.  .

Additional Illinois legislation requires that every physical fitness facility in the state must have at least one AED on the facility premises. Further, the law requires that a physical fitness facility must ensure that there is a trained AED user on staff during staffed business hours. This act applies to gyms which are owned or operated by a park district, municipality, or other units of local government, or by a public or private elementary or secondary school, college, university, technical or trade school.

If a physical fitness facility does not comply with the legislation and have an AED on the premises, as well as a trained AED user, the facility could be responsible and liable for the wrongful death of an individual who had a heart attack while at the premises.

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