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Edison Students are Safer with Donation from the Janet Fund

TAP into Edison Staff

Monday, August 4, 2014 • 6:55am

EDISON, NJ – The Janet Fund has donated crucial pieces of equipment to five schools in Edison in the fight to make New Jersey a heart safe state for children. The Janet Fund works to raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and improve survival rates in children.

Edison School District recently received five Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) from the Janet Fund.  Jim and Karen Zillinski of the Janet Fund presented the defibrillators to the Edison Board of Education at their recent meeting. Jim and Karen are the parents of Janet Zillinski who tragically lost her life to an unknown heart condition.

In describing the defibrillators, Jim Zillinski said, “One of the things I like to point out is that people have a fear of these units and they shouldn’t. They talk to you, they spell out exactly what to do and the first thing they tell you is do is dial 911.”

The defibrillators can only be described as smart defibrillators in that they won’t administer a shock if you don’t need one. The five schools receiving the AEDs are:

Herbert Hoover Middle School

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School

James Monroe Elementary School

Menlo Park Elementary School

Washington Elementary School

Over 3300 students will be protected because of the AED donation.  In addition to the AED, CPR/AED training was offered for ten staff members at each of the five schools. The Edison School Board has also purchased an additional 21 AEDs for the rest of the schools in Edison.

“We are very grateful to the Janet Fund and the Zillinski family for the donation of five AEDs that will be used at one middle school and four elementary schools in Edison,” said Veena Iyer, Edison Board of Education President.

Beginning September 1, 2014, every school in the state of New Jersey must have an AED available and be in an unlocked location.  The new law is named Janet’s Law and is named after Janet Zillinski who passed away from a sudden cardiac arrest on August 10, 2006.  In addition to having an AED, schools must have at least 5 trained responders, signs leading to the AED and an emergency action plan that specifically deals with a sudden cardiac arrest event.   Karen and Jim Zilinski spent 6 years getting Janet’s Law passed and are very pleased that the Edison Township Board of Education is committed to protecting the children of Edison.

Dr. Richard O’Malley, Edison School District Superintendant said, “The district, in conforming with new law, has purchased well over 20 defibrillators in our district and trained five people in each of our buildings.”

The Janet Fund has donated roughly 180 AED’s to New Jersey Schools and youth organizations, while training more than 3000 people in CPR. A defibrillator is the key to surviving Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). If defibrillated within one minute of SCA, survival chances are close to 90 percent. When an AED is used within 3 minutes, the survival rate is almost 75 percent.

The Janet Fund offers grants for schools and youth organizations to obtain an AED.  The grant application can be found on the fund’s website. Anyone looking to support the efforts of The Janet Fund can also do so online.

Janet Zilinski collapsed and died at age 11 at cheerleading practice in 2006 from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  She was seemingly healthy and had recently undergone a physical that did not detect any problems.   In her memory, The Janet Fund was created to raise awareness and combat Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Sudden Cardiac Arrest takes the lives of 7,000 to 10,000 children each year, and is the leading cause of death on school grounds. For more information, visit The Janet Fund.

Janet’s Law

In 2012, the Legislature passed and the Governor approved legislation, “Janet’s law” which requires public and nonpublic schools to have Automated External Defibrillators and to establish emergency action plans for responding to sudden cardiac events

Janet’s Law requires the following items:

  • All public and private schools K-12 to have an AED on site
  • At least five school employees to be certified in CPR/AED
  • An emergency action plan for a sudden cardiac event
  • The AED to be located in an accessible, unlocked location (such as outside the school gym) with appropriate signage above the unit
  • Signs throughout the school directing people to the AED
  • The AED must be accessible after school hours for school athletic events and practices

Janet’s Law was passed and becomes effective September 1, 2014.

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