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Hand-only CPR in Schools


Last updated 8/30/2016 at 2:23pm

Today, AB 1719, legislation to include hands-only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) instruction in schools, has been sent to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for signature after passing in the California State Legislature by a unanimous vote.

“As an Emergency Medical Technician for over 30 years, I know that CPR is one of the most important life skills a person can have,” said Assemblymember Rodriguez (D-Pomona), author of AB 1719. “By teaching CPR in high school, we are sending students into the world with essential, life-saving skills.”

In addition to bipartisan support in the state legislature, AB1719 has broad support from the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the California Professional Firefighters, the California State Parent Teacher Association, the California School Boards Association, California School Employees Association, and other health, education, and labor groups.

“As this legislation faces a final hurdle with the Governor’s office, California is closer than ever to ensuring that our students graduate high school with lifesaving CPR skills,” said Debbie Wilson, CPR Advocate. Read more about Debbie Wilson here. “We are proud our lawmakers are prioritizing the implementation of CPR instruction in our schools, thereby equipping more bystanders with the skills to save lives in communities across California.”

Students can be taught the fundamental life-saving skill of hands-only CPR in 30 minutes or less. Currently, 34 other states and Washington D.C. have passed laws to provide CPR training in schools. With successful passage of AB 1719, California will be able to teach thousands of students hands-only CPR as a part of their graduation health requirement.

“By teaching students CPR, our schools and communities are made safer,” said Justine Fischer, President of the California State Parent Teacher Association. “With as little as 30 minutes of CPR instruction in schools, we are providing students with more comprehensive health education that they can use for the rest of their lives.”

“Having more Californians prepared to provide CPR in emergencies will save lives,” said Lou Paulson, President of the California Professional Firefighters. “When first responders arrive on a scene, knowing that CPR has been conducted on a victim by a qualified individual will allow us to do our job even more effectively, preserving precious life-saving minutes.”

"So many lives have been saved because of the heroic act of bystanders who performed CPR. On the other hand, there are just as many stories of people who did not make it because no one nearby took action,” said Kathy Magliato, MD, American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Board Member and a cardiothoracic surgeon. “With CPR in Schools, we have the opportunity to create a generation in which a significant number of teens and young adults in California are trained in CPR and prepared to save lives. AB 1719 will add thousands of qualified lifesavers to our state."

Why this bill is important:

Each year, over 350,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, not even a third receives CPR from a bystander, and only 10.4% survive.

For every minute without life-saving CPR and defibrillation, chances of survival decrease 7%-10%.

Immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double a victim’s chance of survival.

About AB 1719:

The CPR in Schools legislation (AB 1719) authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D- Pomona) seeks to include hands-only CPR instruction, along with Automated External Defibrillator (AED) awareness, in all school districts that have health as a graduation requirement. CPR instruction must meet the standards currently used by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, or an instructional program that is nationally-recognized, and be based on the most current national evidence-based emergency cardiovascular care guidelines. Training is sensible and affordable, and could easily be incorporated into current high school curriculum. In fact, CPR is already included in California's Health Education Content Standards. CPR in Schools is supported by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.

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