Half the states in the U.S. will require or encourage CPR training for students in the 2015-2016 school year. States have entered into this legislative wave from a variety of circumstances: to respond to tragedy, to prevent tragedy, and to teach students social responsibility.
Oklahoma’s legislation began with a CPR Training Act named after Dustin Rhodes and Lindsay Steed, two students who choked during school and passed away without intervention. Their stories have begun to pave the way for widespread CPR education across the U.S.
Mary Easley, the senator who penned the Oklahoma bill, stated, “I believe SB 618 could prevent future tragedies from happening in our schools. We worked with the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association as well as many other organizations to obtain funding, teaching materials and training courses. CPR is a skill that can save lives, and those that are charged with the care of our children should receive this vital training.”
Oklahoma’s legislation now goes beyond this first bill to include high school student CPR training as well. CPR intervention is a simple skill which increases survival odds dramatically, and it necessitates asking, “Why not train everyone?”
The American Heart Association has found that 1,000 people currently die each day from out of hospital cardiac arrest. These people often have perfectly sound hearts and no history of heart disease. Nine out of every ten people do not receive CPR attempts at all. Yet, when administered immediately, CPR has proven to double or triple survival rates.
Maryland named their bill after Breanna Sudano, a student who collapsed during a field hockey match and was saved because CPR attempts prolonged her life until an ambulance arrived.
Sudano spoke with WBALTV after her recovery, saying, “.. If more people know CPR, more lives could be saved.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Unfortunately, many schools have similarly experienced cardiac arrest within their walls with differing outcomes. Due to efforts by parents, teachers, administrators, and friends, state legislation is going into effect in hopes to be better prepared for the future on every level.
Some states also pass legislation because they see the huge untapped potential for students to go outside their schools, into their communities, and save lives whenever the need arises.
“What we are doing is graduating generations of young people who will learn a skill who will populate every part of the state,” says Michaeline Fedder of the AHA .
Each student required to graduate with CPR training carries with them the potential to save a life.
Washington mandates a state legacy of communal responsibility and cultivates the expectation that students, when trained, will step in without hesitation. This line in the bill sums it up perfectly, “The legislature finds that schools are the hearts of our community, and preparing students to help with a sudden cardiac arrest emergency could save the life of a child, parent, or teacher… training students will continue the legacy.”
With the help of legislation, students around the U.S. can continue to follow in the footsteps of the socially concerned, and will have one more skill in their pocket to contribute to their societies.
Every student that’s trained is a potential life saved.