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San Diego Council Passes First-In-The-Nation Heart Safe Building Code Law

Automated External Defibrillators Save Lives

(Mission Times Courier, San Diego, CA) - San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Jim Madaffer announced the Council unanimously passed on December 2, 2008 a first-in-the-nation bill including automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as a requirement under the municipal building code.

“San Diego is moving beyond measures that require lifesaving AEDs in only certain types of buildings, such as schools or recreational facilities” said Madaffer. “This legislation grasps the common sense point that wherever a large number of people are, there needs to be an AED and appropriate training just as there needs to be a fire extinguisher.”

Under the new law, awaiting signature from Mayor Jerry Sanders, AEDs will be installed in new construction in the city. The municipal code language will be applicable to all new buildings higher than three stories or with more than 10,000 square feet, including office and commercial buildings, medical, dental and out-patient clinics, hotels, motels, restaurants, and common areas of residential condominiums and apartments.

Additionally, AEDs would be required in places of assembly with a capacity for more than 300 people and educational facilities with more than 200 students.

The law, first introduced with a unanimous vote on November 18, would require new construction to be pre-wired on all floors with dedicated wall mounts for the AED system and with self acting alarms. AED owners would be required to register their equipment with the Fire-Rescue Department, test it annually, and notify the Fire-Rescue Department each time the device is used.

The legislation builds on San Diego’s status as America’s premier heart safe community. In 2001 San Diego Project Heart Beat was launched. The initial goal of the program was to place at least 250 AED units throughout the county by Super Bowl Sunday of January 2003. Instead, that goal was exceeded by nearly 550 AED units. Currently, through a partnership with AED manufacturer Cardiac Science, more than 4,000 units have been installed in San Diego County and have saved the lives of 52 people who likely would have died without an AED.

Ninety-six people die in the US from sudden cardiac arrest for every one fire death. But with advances in San Diego, when a shock is delivered within one minute, survival rates have been shown to increase seventeen fold from initial levels of 5 percent to as high as 86 percent.

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