Witwer and Yaroch Introduce School Safety Package

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

LANSING — State Reps. Angela Witwer (Delta Township) and Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond) introduced a bipartisan package today aimed at improving various school safety practices in Michigan. Rep. Witwer’s bill, House Bill 4333, would call for an annual appropriation from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to grant funds to high schools interested in purchasing Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). The legislation was prompted after Rep. Witwer learned the story of a student athlete in her district named Everson Guild, who tragically lost consciousness and died during a workout in 2017. Approximately 75 percent of Michigan schools already have AEDs in their facilities -- largely due to donation efforts -- but many districts are still on the waiting list.

“It is up to us as legislators to ensure every possible step is taken to protect our students,” Witwer said. “Thankfully, situations where these machines are needed do not arise often, but in those cases, access to an AED can be the difference between life and death. When it comes to the lives of our children, there is no precaution too small to consider.”

Last year in Fruitport, an AED machine was used to resuscitate a basketball player whose heart stopped during practice. The machine saved his life.

Rep. Yaroch’s bill, House Bill 4334, would require public schools to carry trauma kits and train all staff members on how to use, and maintain the kits. His bill is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Stop the Bleed” national campaign to help improve survival from life-threatening bleeding. Aspects of the campaign include the encouragement for bystanders to become knowledgeable on proper bleeding-control techniques, and equipping schools with lifesaving tools, such as trauma kits. The kits would contain items such as tourniquets and compression bandages to help keep an injury victim stable while emergency responders are on their way.

 “Trauma is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the most preventable cause is bleeding,” Yaroch said. “We want to help our schools be better prepared in these life-threatening emergencies.”

Witwer’s HB 4333 was sent to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration, and Yaroch’s HB 4334 was sent to the Education Committee.

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