NJ bill answers: What should I do when someone’s having a seizure?
Tens of thousands of New Jersey residents are living with epilepsy.
If one were to have a seizure right in front of you, would you know what to do?
New Jersey legislators and advocates are attempting to equip more residents with the proper knowledge, by getting critical first-aid information in the hands of employers.
A proposed law approved unanimously by the full New Jersey Assembly would require the Department of Health to create an informational pamphlet or poster for employers on how to care for someone who has suffered a seizure in the workplace.
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development would have to put this information on its website, and would be charged with getting the information in the hands of employers.
The information would revolve around non-medical steps that anyone can take to provide comfort and safety to someone who's having a seizure.
A seizure first aid poster from Epilepsy Services of New Jersey, for example, advises individuals to turn a person on their side, and to put something soft under their head. You want to remain calm and stay with the individual, and time the seizure, it says.
"As a teenager, all I want to do is go out in the community. However, I know I am not safe unless someone knows how to help me," Paul St. Pierre, a high school student in Voorhees Township, told Assembly members in January.
The 16-year-old suffers from complex focal epilepsy and says he can not communicate when he's having a seizure. He's one of approximately 12,000 minors with epilepsy in New Jersey, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"I also want to get a job like my friends, but would anyone know what to do?" he said.
Paul is the namesake of Paul's Law, which requires epilepsy and seizure disorder training of all new and current school staff in New Jersey.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, there are more than 123,000 people in New Jersey living with epilepsy.
While the latest legislation forces the first-aid info to get in the hands of employers, it does not require employers to share that information with employees or customers.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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