“The most important job of government is to protect public health and safety, and this legislation is a common-sense solution to save lives,” County Executive Leopold said. “Lifeguards are already trained to perform resuscitation and use defibrillators. We need to make sure that public pools have the equipment needed.”
In 2006, 5-year-old Connor John-James Freed drowned in a local pool in Crofton. He died on the way to the hospital. A lifeguard can be heard on the 911 tape stating that the pool had an automatic external defibrillator (AED), but she was not allowed to use it because she was not trained. The Red Cross now requires training on how to use the devices.
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children 5 years old and younger. County law already requires facemasks, latex gloves, a pathogen control kit, a light, a rescue pole, a rescue tube and other life-saving equipment.
“Statistics prove that the use of defibrillators increases your chance of survival,” said Debbie Neagle-Freed, Connor’s mother and founder of the Connor Cares Foundation. “My child would be alive today if this law was in effect.”
The Connor Cares Foundation raises money to provide AEDs to facilities in need of financial support, and already sponsors 500 kids at Arlington Echo who are receiving drownproofing training. For more information, go to www.connorcares.org