According to the American Heart Association, cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in U.S. When someone's heart gives out for any reason, every second after can be the difference between life and death. That's why CPR training is so important.
"CPR can be done by anyone, anywhere. I cannot imagine the fear or frustration that someone might fear to know what to do, and not feel comfortable to do what it is they know," said AHA volunteer Coletta Barrett.
Since 2002, Louisiana high school students have been required to learn about CPR and heart disease in their curriculum. However, hands on training was not required.
Anyone who has received CPR training knows that there is a big difference between reading about compressions, and physically doing them. That's why a new proposed state law would require hands on CPR training as a requirement for graduation.
"This actually gives the students the skills that they need to go along with the education they've previously received," said Barrett.
The training would be incorporated into the lessons that are already in place, and supporters of the bill say there would be no extra cost to schools or the state. Any needed equipment would be loaned to schools by local health professionals like EMS or local hospitals.
"It takes private and public entities and partners them with schools and says ok, here's how we can make this happen for our children," said Barrett.
House Bill 542 is sponsored by Representative Tom Willmott. The House approved the bill this week. It has been sent to the Senate Committee on Education. If approved, Louisiana would join more than ten other states that have already passed similar laws.
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