Over the weekend, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will require CPR training for a majority of the state’s high school students.
Although the California law falls short of the American Heart Association’s efforts to get states to provide CPR training to all high school graduates, AHA volunteers cheered the new law, which will result in about 270,000 of the 377,000 California high school graduates each year being trained in CPR.
“So many lives have been saved because of the heroic act of bystanders who performed CPR,” cardiothoracic surgeon Kathy Magliato, M.D., said in a news release.
“With CPR in Schools, we have the opportunity to create a generation in which teens and young adults in California are trained in CPR as part of their health education and prepared to save lives,” said Magliato, an AHA Western States Affiliate board member.
An amendment to the law states that only high schools that require a course in health education to graduate will be required to offer CPR training. The law takes effect with the 2018-2019 school year.
The bill was authored by assembly member Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, who was an emergency medical technician for 30 years.
“I know that CPR is one of the most important life skills a person can have,” Rodriguez said in a news release. “By teaching CPR in high school, we are sending students into the world with essential, lifesaving skills.”
About 40 people each hour have a cardiac arrest while not in a hospital, and about nine of 10 do not survive, according to American Heart Association statistics. Yet receiving bystander CPR can double or even triple the victim’s chances of survival.
The new law also encourages schools to provide students with information about automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, which are portable devices available in a growing number of public places that deliver an electric shock to stop a chaotic heart rhythm and restore a normal beat.
Thirty-four states, Missouri being the most recent, have passed laws or adopted curriculum changes to require hands-on, guidelines-based CPR training to graduate high school.