Howell policy requires defibrillators in schools

Staff Writer

HOWELL — The Howell K-8 School District Board of Education has approved a policy that officials said could help to save lives in the school district.

The policy, adopted at the board’s Aug. 20 meeting, ensures that every school will have an automated external defibrillator (AED) available that can be used in the event someone has a cardiac episode.

According to the policy, the AED will be easily accessible, readily available and kept in an unlocked location at each school. The device will also have a sign to identify it. The AED will be available throughout the school day and at any other event sponsored by the school.

A sports team coach, licensed athletic trainer or other selected staff member who is present during athletic events or team practices will be taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the proper use of the AED, according to the policy.

The policy is a result of Janet’s Law, according to Business Administrator Ron Sanasac. The law requires public schools to have an AED for youth athletic events and to devise a plan to act upon in the case of a sudden cardiac event, according to the New Jersey Legislature website.

The law — named for Janet Zilinski, an 11-year-old who died of sudden cardiac arrest following a cheerleading practice in August 2006 — goes into effect this month.

The board’s policy requires the design of an emergency action plan that is relevant to each school and addresses how to react to a sudden cardiac event, including when an AED may be necessary.

The plan will include a list of five school employees, sports team coaches or licensed athletic trainers who are certified by a stateaccepted program in CPR and the use of an AED.

In other business, the board accepted donations to two schools. Ahold Financial Services, in conjunction with Stop and Shop’s A+ School Rewards program, donated $562 to the Newbury School. The Land O’ Pines School PTO donated $8,008 to the school for dry erase board skins to cover existing chalkboards.

Contact Taylor M. Lier at