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CPR in school bill heads to governor's desk

Law would create 100,000 new potential lifesavers each year

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LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is one step closer to requiring all students to learn hands-only CPR before graduating from high school.

Wednesday night, the Michigan House voted 98-8 in favor of the CPR in Schools bill. The legislation passed the Senate unanimously on May 31 and heads to Gov. Rick Synder for his signature.

"We applaud Michigan legislators for their leadership in ensuring every student in Michigan learns the life-saving skill of CPR before graduation," said Sarah Poole, government relations director for the American Heart Association. "CPR can nearly triple survival rates for cardiac arrest by providing assistance until the EMTs arrive, and healthcare professionals and families whose lives have been impacted by CPR are excited for the bill to be signed into law."

Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia already have laws requiring CPR training before graduation.

VIDEOSchools teach life-saving lesson

According to the American Heart Assocation, nearly 357,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year. Only 8 percent survive, but immediate bystander CPR can greatly increase those odds.

"I am proud of my colleagues in the House for ensuring 100,000 Michigan high school students every year graduate equipped with the lifesaving skill of CPR," said state Rep. Thomas Hooker (R-Byron Center), the sponsor of the House version of the bill. "States and communities with high school CPR training have seen dramatic increases in survival rates for cardiac arrest victims, and that’s why it’s important we equip today’s students with the skills to become tomorrow’s lifesavers."

Dr. Brad Uren, an emergency physician at the University of Michigan, said it just makes sense to teach students CPR.

"If you train students, they are going to be able to act as lifesavers for several decades, for the rest of their life," Uren said. "They are great learners. Young people learn so fast and so well."

The bill requires schools to provide instruction in hands-only CPR and the use of defibrillators at least one time between grades seven and 12. The requirement would begin in the 2017-18 school year.

Experts said hands-only CPR can be taught in just 30 minutes and can easily be incorporated into existing health classes. Teachers do not need to be certified CPR trainers. Students can also learn CPR by watching a video and practicing on a mannequin, but schools are also encouraged to partner with local firefighters, EMT personnel and emergency responders.