American Heart Association lauds power of CPR in schools legislation

  • Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Two bills introduced to the state legislature hold the power to create a generation of lifesavers in South Carolina by requiring that schools teach students Hands-Only Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) before they graduate.

Both bills would require the addition of a hands-only CPR training within the already required health education curriculum in high schools. Senators Gerald Malloy and Ray Cleary are sponsoring the bill in the Senate, and Representatives Jay Lucas and Mike Sottile are the House sponsors.

“This legislation ensures a future of citizenry with the confidence necessary to assist in life-threatening events. Confidence gained through CPR training, which empowers action,” said Senator Malloy in a news release. “Action that can save lives. Sudden cardiac arrest has no prejudice. It can happen to anyone, at any time.”

Nearly 383,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 11 percent of them survive, most likely because they don’t receive timely CPR. Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates.

“The American Heart Association’s (AHA) goal is to teach lifesaving CPR skills to as many teens and young adults as possible in South Carolina to help keep our communities safer, year after year,” said Francee Levin, sudden cardiac arrest survivor and AHA volunteer. “Having a new generation of lifesavers will benefit everyone, and this legislation will be the key to a change that will have invaluable impact on lives saved.”

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.

It is most often caused by coronary heart disease, but it can also be caused by trauma, an overdose, or drowning. Within a few seconds, the victim’s heart stops beating; blood stops circulating; oxygen stops flowing to the brain; and the victim stops breathing.

Five minutes is the difference between life and death. If no CPR is provided or no defibrillation occurs within 3-5 minutes of collapse, the chances of survival drop.

Currently, five states (Alabama, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee) require that all students take a CPR training course that includes skills practice before graduation by working it into existing health or P.E. classes, investing 30 minutes in today’s students, who are then ready to become tomorrow’s lifesavers.

To join the American Heart Association’s work to teach students CPR, go online to www.yourethecure.org or call American Heart Association at 1-800-242-8721.

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