NY resident fights to have AEDs required at large retail outlets

Justin Beyer was motivated to take action after no AED was available at the Walmart where he worked when a customer went unconscious

By Julie Abbass
Watertown Daily Times

LOWVILLE, N.Y. — A motivated Lewis County resident took another step toward his goal of requiring large retail outlets to have a defibrillator and CPR-trained personnel in their stores at all times.

Justin Beyer, 21, gave a short presentation in the public comment period at the beginning of the county Board of Legislators meeting on Tuesday evening, outlining what an automatic external defibrillator is and why they are needed.

“I don’t see a case where they would deny it once they’re fully informed,” said Mr. Beyer, “It’s got some complications and may make some more work for some people, but it’s not controversial and it could save lives.”

Motivated by a New Year’s Day incident during his shift at Walmart in which he put his month-old CPR skills to the test on an unconscious customer and no AED was available at the store, Mr. Beyer decided to take action.

Mr. Beyer learned through conversations with the Walmart manager that although Walmart does not generally have AEDs in its stores, there are some stores that have them, to comply withcounty or state laws.

The county law Mr. Beyer would like to see passed would require big retailers, like Walmart, Tops and Tractor Supply, to have an AED available and ensure a certain percentage of their floor staff is CPR- and AED-certified.

He began a Change.org petition after the incident and is almost halfway to his 1,000- signature goal with 482 signatures.

The use of an AED when it’s available is now included in CPR training as the third step. According to the American Heart Association’s website, use of an AED in addition to chest compressions increases a person’s chance of survival significantly.

Mr. Beyer was invited to attend the public Health and Human Services legislative committee meeting at 2 p.m. Feb. 19 to elaborate on the issue.

To sign the petition or read more about Mr. Beyer’s efforts to change county law, go to http://wdt.me/Beyer-AED.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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