When someone suffers a heart attack, a quick response is crucial. Chances for survival decrease 10 percent with every minute that passes without the victim being stabilized. After 10 minutes, hope is all but gone. 

   The time it takes for paramedics to respond after they receive a call eats into those precious moments of survival time. In some fortunate cases, a friend or bystander steps forward to perform CPR on the patient. CPR helps extend life, but it can only do so much.

   What the patient needs is a defibrillator – a device that delivers a jolt of electricity to the heart and restarts it. For this reason, more and more public places are beginning to buy defibrillators to keep on hand in case of an emergency.

   Corporate workplaces, park districts, police squad cars, stadiums, airports, even Aurora’s Hollywood Casino have purchased defibrillators in case someone has sudden heart trouble. That’s a healthy trend in every sense of the word, and we’d like to see even more public venues stock them.

   We urge Gov. George Ryan to sign Senate Bill 458, the Automated External Defibrillator Act, which would require the state to develop programs to educate more people about defibrillators and expand their use. When minutes count, they can save lives.