Harford County is one step closer to requiring defibrillators in all swimming pools, after the County Council introduced a bill requiring them Tuesday night.

The bill requires that CPR rescue masks, automatic external defibrillators and first-aid kits be provided and maintained at each public, recreational and semi-public pool.

Council President Billy Boniface said he was interested in having the local version of what is known as "Connor's Law," which relates to safety at swimming pools.

The law is being promoted by the parents of Connor Freed, a 5-year-old Anne Arundel County boy, who drowned in a pool in 2005.


"Like" exploreharford's Facebook page

An AED was available at the pool where Connor drowned, but no one was able to use it, Boniface said earlier.

Boniface also plans to put more AEDs in county government buildings. He had planned to talk to the county risk management department last month about installing AEDs in more county buildings, which does not require legislation.

He said some county government facilities, such as senior centers, already have AEDs.

Boniface said Thursday he has already talked with risk management about putting them in county buildings, which is happening on an as-needed basis for now.

"We're doing our best in having them installed in as many buildings as possible," he said.

Walmart supporters

Walmart again brought out supporters of the Bel Air store to testify before the council on Tuesday.

Several residents from the immediate area spoke out about the need for a Walmart store there and Harry Hammel, a public relations representative for the store, was at the meeting.

Elizabeth Cox said Walmart is offering to help the county and help neighbors feel safer in that area by improving traffic conditions.

She pointed out MedStar is coming as well and the county should have a more coordinated planning effort.

"Doesn't it make sense to have the county get assistance with their traffic issues that could possibly help in the solution?" she said, in reference to Walmart. "Doesn't it make sense to have everyone, Walmart, MedStar, anyone that's interested in coming into that area, to work as one to assist the county?"

Nimisha Shah, another resident, said she was mostly excited about new jobs and tax dollars.

"You can't lose if there's more tax dollars coming in," she said.

Bill Atkins said he has enjoyed seeing more shopping and development come to Bel Air, which he was reminded of after a recent trip to Baltimore.

"My wife and I went down to the stadium today," he said, in reference to the recent Ravens victory rally. "I felt so good to live in Harford County and said, boy, I'm glad I don't have to live down there."

Atkins said when his family moved to Bel Air, they had to go shopping in Towson or Baltimore, but that has changed.