TRENTON — To protect the lives of New Jersey's hotel patrons, Assembly Members Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling and Gabriela Mosquera have sponsored legislation ensuring hotels have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the most populated areas of hotels. The bill cleared the Assembly Gaming, Tourism and the Arts Committee Monday.
"We must do everything in our abilities to protect the lives of New Jersey's residents," said Downey, D-Monmouth. "As shown by the tragic death of Micheel Anthony Fornicola, AEDs can mean the difference between life and death, and this bill is in the interest of all New Jerseyans."
The bill A-4486 would require every hotel in New Jersey to have an AED in each lobby, meeting room, banquet hall and fitness center, as well as on every residential floor within one year of the bill's effective date.
"This bill is critical for the safety and well-being of every resident of New Jersey, and all those who come to visit our state," said Houghtaling, D-Monmouth. "Cardiac arrest can take place when you least expect it, such as when you are away from home, and we must ensure that we take every precaution to protect the lives of all those in New Jersey."
"By placing AEDs and trained professionals in hotels, we can prevent further tragedy," said Mosquera, D-Camden/Gloucester. "In honor of Mr. Fornicola, we must ensure that this never happens again in our state."
The bill is to be named "Michael Anthony Fornicola's law," in honor of Mr. Fornicola who passed away on May 29, 2012 due to cardiac arrests at Harrah's Resorts in Atlantic City. The family believes that his life could have been saved if an AED was available on his floor.
The bill defines "hotel" as any hotel, inn, boarding house, motel or other establishment whose proprietor offers and accepts payment for rooms, sleeping accommodations or board and lodging and retains the right of access to, and control of, the premises which are let.
The AEDs would have to be stored and maintained in a central, unlocked location that is known and accessible to employees and marked with a clear, prominent sign.
Hotels would be required to have at least one employee or volunteer with up-to-date certifications from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association or other training program recognized by the Department of Health in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the use of an AED on premises when a public or private event or activity is taking place at the hotel.
The bill ensures that the owners and/or operators, along with the employees and volunteers at the hotel are immune from civil liability in association with the acquisition and use of an AED. They are also immune from civil or criminal liability resulting from the malfunctioning of an AED as long as it has been maintained and tested in accordance with the manufacturer's operational guidelines.