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'CPR in school' bill signed into law

Experts say new requirement will create 100,000 new potential lifesavers

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan schools will now be required to provide CPR instruction to students before graduation.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed the "CPR in School" bill because Gov. Rick Snyder is vacationing out of state.   Earlier this month, the Michigan House voted 98-8 in favor of the bill.   The legislation passed the Senate unanimously on May 31.

The new law requires schools to provide instruction in Hands-Only CPR and the use of defibrillators at least once between grades 7 and 12.    The requirement will begin with the 2017-18 school year.

"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.

According to the American Heart Association, 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 Representative 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, says 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," said Uren.  "They are great learners.  Young people learn so fast and so well."

Experts say 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.

To learn Hands-Only CPR, click here.