Addabbo Bill To Require Airway-Clearing Devices at All NYS Schools Advanced Out Of Senate Education Committee

Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

May 21, 2024

Queens, NY (May 21, 2024): NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is pleased to announce his bill (S7018) to ensure that every public or private school possesses at least one non-powered, airway-clearing device advanced out of the Senate Education Committee on May 21, 2024, taking a step closer to a full Senate vote.

“Choking incidences are scary, especially for those present when someone is struggling to breathe and desperate for help. Thankfully, the non-invasive airway-clearing device is easy to operate and can be utilized by anyone,” stated Addabbo. “Mandating airway devices in every school further ensures disabled individuals have a proven, user-friendly mechanism available during a choking emergency,” Addabbo concluded.

Addabbo’s bill would require public and non-public schools to be equipped with an airway-clearance device and to develop policies and training on such devices. The cost of training nurses and staff in airway management and operation of airway clearance devices may be reimbursed as determined by the individual school board.

The Heimlich maneuver, or traditional method for assisting a choking person, requires an individual to be held upright while applying abdominal thrusts. This method can be challenging for individuals in wheelchairs, but portable non-powered airway–clearing devices would solve this problem. 

A study conducted by Dr. Mathew J. Mckinley found that 10 of his wheelchair-bound patients had difficulty making abdominal thrusts, which is the traditional way of helping someone who is choking. When the Heimlich method isn’t working, the only thing left to do is wait for emergency personnel or continue with the protocol that is not working. The airway-clearing device is proven effective for individuals who are wheelchair-bound and those with Down Syndrome who are more prone to choking emergencies due to physical or medical issues that stem from their condition. Addabbo’s bill would address this issue and cover all students. 

In the Senate, the legislation is advanced to the Finance Committee for consideration.