New Tennessee Law Requiring AEDs in High Schools Goes Into Effect

Starting July 1, Tennessee’s “Smart Heart Act” requires high schools to have automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) on-site. This new law, signed by Governor Bill Lee in May, aims to improve emergency responses to cardiac issues in schools.

Under the Smart Heart Act, all public and private high schools (grades 9 through 12) must have an AED accessible during school hours and at athletic events.

Governor Lee emphasized the importance of the legislation, stating, “Nothing is more important than keeping our students healthy and safe. The Smart Heart Act ensures schools will be ready to respond in the event of a cardiac-related emergency. I commend the General Assembly for their commitment to Tennessee students in passing this legislation.”

The Smart Heart Act was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in April 2024, sponsored by Cepicky and Hensley.

The Smart Heart Sports Coalition, launched in 2023, was instrumental in pushing for this law. This coalition, consisting of major sports leagues and health advocacy groups, focuses on preventing Sudden Cardiac Arrest fatalities among high school students. Their key initiatives include:

– Clearly marked AEDs at or near each high school athletic venue.

– Emergency action plans for each athletic venue, which are posted and regularly practiced.

– CPR and AED training for coaches and school personnel.

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