By Katherine Wright
Staff Writer, Dayton Daily News
A new Ohio law that allows anyone to perform external defibrillation to resuscitate another person will help reduce delays in lifesaving care, according to first responders.
House Bill 247, which was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich this month, permits any person to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED), even if they have no training in how to use the machine.
“When someone is suffering from a cardiac emergency, every minute of delay decreases their chance of survival by 10 percent,” said Karen Cromacks, a CPR and defibrillation teacher for the American Red Cross in Cincinnati. “If using an AED machine required training by law, then when someone collapsed in a public place, you would have to start looking for someone with a card. That could cause a delay.”
AED machines send a strong electric shock to a heart that is in fibrillation. They are present in most public buildings and are designed to be used by people with little to no medical experience, Cromacks said.
Cromacks said the risk of using them is low because the machine recognizes the difference between a regular heartbeat and a heart in fibrillation.
“The person using the machine doesn’t make the decision whether to shock the person. The machine makes that decision,” Cromacks said. “All you have to do is get the unit, get it on to the person’s chest, and let the machine read the electro activity of the heart and make the decision.”
Dayton Fire Chief Jeffrey Payne said he hopes the law will encourage members of the public to take action in a crisis situation.
“We don’t want people to think that they’ll hurt someone by trying to use an AED machine. As long as they follow the instructions, it’s really an effective tool, and it’s very user-friendly,” Payne said. “We don’t want anyone to fear litigation for trying to help their fellow person.”
Ohio law previously allowed defibrillation to be performed only by those with training in AED and CPR. The new law allows anyone to use the machine, recommending training but not requiring it.
The new law also requires a person performing defibrillation to make a “good-faith effort” to activate an emergency medical system as soon as possible. The law had previously required the person to activate the system. The law, which had previously provided immunity from civil lawsuits to those who use a defibrillator, extends that immunity to anyone who owns an AED machine.
Cromacks said people should still seek training in CPR and AED, however.
“If I collapsed and could pick between someone who had taken a class and someone who had no training whatsoever, I would pick the person with the training,” she said. “I know that person will be somewhat familiar with the machine and will be less flustered.”
A defibrillator should be used if a person is observed collapsed, unconscious and not breathing, Cromacks said. A defibrillator can be used immediately. If one is not accessible, CPR should be performed to buy time until defibrillation.
The Ohio Fire Code is the minimum standard for fire safety in the State of Ohio
These rules are promulgated and adopted by the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal and become statewide law that the CJFD must comply with. In addition, the Ohio Administrative Code regulates open burning activities and is enforced by the Ohio EPA and locally by the Regional Air Pollution and Control Agency.
The CJFD receives many requests for information related to open burning requirements. The most common request is for information concerning the requirements for having a recreational fire within the City limits. The Ohio rules and laws define a recreational fire as:
An outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or barbecue pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.
The Ohio Administrative Code contains additional provisions for open burning within restricted areas that applies to the City and Township of Canfield, because of our population and the fact that we are located within an incorporated area. In these rules yard waste materials can not be burned at anytime.
Residents may have a recreational fire subject to the following rules and regulations.
• The only material that can be burned is clean dry wood as a fuel source. (No yard waste or rubbish materials or prohibited materials defined by the OAC may be burned at any time).
• If the fire is contained in an approved container such as an outdoor fireplace, barbecue pit, etc. the fire must be at least 15 feet from a structure or combustible materials.
• For an open fire not contained, the fire must be at least 25 feet from a structure, wood fence, neighboring structure or combustible materials. Conditions that could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of the fire must be eliminated prior to ignition of a fire.
• The fire must be constantly attended while burning and must be extinguished if it is not attended.
• A portable fire extinguisher with a minimum of a 4A rating or garden hose, bucket of sand or other suitable means for extinguishing the fire must be provided.
• The fire must not create an offensive or objectionable condition that interferes with the neighboring residents’ use and enjoyment of their property. If this occurs, the Fire Division is required to order the person responsible for the fire to extinguish it.
• The Fire District is required to extinguish fires, which create hazardous conditions.
The most common complaint from neighbors is when recreational fires are not conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations, or when the environmental conditions cause the smoke to migrate off of the property into the residence of neighboring property. Persons with chronic breathing problems can often times be affected by these conditions.
Another issue that commonly comes up associated with recreational fires, is noise and disturbance of the neighborhood when these events extend late into the evening.
This is a police matter and will be dealt with by the Canfield Police Department or Mahoning County Sheriff.
If the CJFD orders you to extinguish your fire due to non-compliance with the rules and regulations, or the fire creates an offensive or objectionable condition, you are bound by Ohio law to comply with the request. Failure to do so may result in result in you being charged with violation of the open burning regulations.
If you have any questions concerning the Ohio Open Burning Regulations, please contact Deputy Chief Matt Rarick at (330) 533-4316 ext. 3.