By Andrea Cordle
According to the American Heart Association, every hour in the United States, approximately 48 people will have a cardiac arrest event outside of a hospital or care facility. Nine out of 10 of those victims will not survive. However, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could double, or even triple, ones chance of survival.
This is why State Representatives Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) collaborated with the American Heart Association to introduce legislation to require students to complete CPR training before graduating high school.
“This would create a whole generation of life savers,” said Brianne Harman, a communications director with the American Heart Association.
Grossman said for her, this idea came after a Grove City family lost a loved one.
“If emergency CPR had been given, that person may have lived,” said Grossman. “This is a no-brainer as to why this is so important.”
The house bill would put CPR training into school curriculum, so all students would have knowledge and practice before graduation. School districts could offer the training any time between grades 9-12, as part of health studies.
“Students are already required to participate in a health class,” said Grossman.
Harman said this would not be an all day CPR training class. She said basic training could be done in about 30 minutes, which is less than most class periods.
“This would ensure students got hands-on training,” said Harman. “It does not require students to become CPR certified.”
According to the bill, instructors would not have to be certified. Current educators or school staff could teach the course.
Harman said this training would be no cost to low cost for Ohio school districts. She said the no cost option would be for the school district to partner with its local fire department and have a paramedic teach the students basic CPR. The low cost option would be for the school district to purchase an American Heart Association school training kit.
Harman said the kits are as low as $1 per student.
The kit aims to empower students to learn the basic skills of CPR in less than 30 minutes and it teaches AED skills, as well as choking relief. It includes a miniature inflatable manikin, an inflation pump, a training DVD, 50 replacements airways and facemasks.
The state representatives each reached out to their local school district. Grossman said she has been in contact with leaders at South-Western City Schools about the training and Manning worked with a district near Akron.
“The schools were very supportive,” said Grossman. “We need to work together to make the next generation comfortable with CPR.”
The American Heart Association says only 10.4 percent of the nearly 424,000 people who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital each year survive. Harman said almost 70 percent of cardiac arrests happen in the home.
“Chances are, this is a family member or a friend,” said Harman.
She said that is why it is so critical to teach more people CPR skills and a school setting presents the best opportunity to teach young people how to respond in an emergency.
If the bill passes, Ohio would join at least 20 other states with similar laws.
Grossman said it is difficult to predict when the house could vote on the bill. She said it would have to pass through the committees first, with the opportunity for feedback, before it goes to the house floor.
Harman said she is hopeful the bill will pass this year.
“The sooner, the better,” she said.