A device that helps to save lives may soon be required at many Oahu buildings. A bill that would mandate having automated external defibrillators in city facilities is up for final approval by the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. The measure would also require AEDs in newly-constructed buildings, including large offices and condos.
Sharon Maekawa's mission to save lives began after her daughter's death in 2009. When school teacher Kristin Maekawa Claudi suddenly collapsed, there was no automated external defibrillator on campus.
"Everyone tried to help and do the best that they could, but she died of sudden cardiac arrest," Maekawa said.
The Nuuanu resident is urging the council to pass Bill 69, requiring all facilities owned or leased by the city to have an AED.
"I don't have an exact cost on it, but many do carry already. It can be at public facilities, such as at our parks, or at fire stations, police stations," said Council member Brandon Elefante, who introduced the bill.
The mandate would also apply to privately-owned buildings with 50 or more occupants that are constructed on or after January 1, 2018. Each floor would need at least one AED and signs must be posted.
The Hawaii chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association opposes the measure because of the cost for purchasing the devices and training.
An AED generally costs between $1,000 and $3,500, according to the AED Institute of America. The company's president said you can't put a price tag on saving a life.
"Getting more people to just understand, no liability, you can't hurt anybody with CPR, you can't hurt anybody with an AED, you can only make them better, you can't make them worse, the hope is we'll save more lives," explained Pam Foster.
Maekawa hopes to spare other families the heartache that she has endured.
"Until it happens to you personally, of course, you just never know the impact of how your life can change in a split second," she said.