The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (BEMS) is urging all Louisiana schools to comply with the requirements under the Jump Start Your Heart (JSYH) Act by registering with EMS before the start of the 2024-25 school year.

The Jump Start Your Heart Act aims to save lives by expanding access to AED (automatic external defibrillator) and CPR training in elementary, middle and high schools. The Louisiana Department of Education received a grant to assist schools in purchasing AEDs and to fund CPR and AED training for K-12 schools. 

The Act requires that all post-secondary institutions and schools have AEDs on premises and ensure they are available for use during certain sponsored/hosted athletic events. The JSYH Act requires the AED be readily available within three minutes. 

Each institution must also have a trained AED user at sporting events, as well as a cardiac response plan approved by the principal, dean or chancellor that establishes specific steps to reduce death from cardiac arrest. Drills should be performed using the cardiac response plan, and school personnel should be educated at least annually about the location, function and use of AEDs. After an AED is used, it is the responsibility of the educational facility to immediately replenish the AED supplies and prepare the device for the next event. 

Nearly 90% of all heart-related deaths of high school athletes take place in July, August and September, when high temperatures put stress on the heart and can increase the risk for cardiac arrest.

“Sudden cardiac arrest of school-aged individuals is not uncommon,” said BEMS Director Susan F. Bailey. “It is imperative that school faculty be response-ready when a cardiac arrest occurs. The Louisiana Department of Health is dedicated to raising awareness of this issue and ensuring full compliance among Louisiana schools.” 

BEMS will begin inspecting facilities or premises for compliance after the start of the 2024 school year beginning with schools that have not registered with BEMS. Random inspections will also be initiated after the beginning of the school year to ensure compliance. 

Learn more and register with BEMS here