All public and semipublic pools in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County now must have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on site, thanks to a new law signed in July. It affects 275 pools in the county, which is located on the Chesapeake Bay and home to the state capital of Annapolis.
“Connor’s Law,” as it is known, is in response to
the 2006 death of Connor John-James Freed, a 5-year-old who drowned
at a country club pool in that county. The pool where the tragedy
occurred was equipped with a defibrillator, but it was not used
because the lifeguard had never been trained on the device.
AEDs check an individual’s heart rhythm and, if needed, can
send an electric shock to restart the heart, saving the
person’s life. Defibrillators have been shown to increase the
survival rate for submersion victims, and the Red Cross now
includes education in such devices as part of its CPR
“The most important job of government is to protect public
health and safety, and this law is a common-sense solution to save
lives,” said John R. Leopold, Anne Arundel County executive.
“Lifeguards are already trained to perform resuscitation and
use defibrillators. We need to make sure that public pools have the
The Connor Cares Foundation (www.connorcares.org), established by the
boy’s mother, has donated defibrillators to pools throughout
Maryland and hopes to have such devices at all public and private
pools in the nation.