Governor Jay Nixon (D) has signed legislation backers said could save lives by requiring 30 minutes of CPR and Heimlich maneuver training of high school graduates.
Senate Bill 711 adds those to graduation requirements for public high schools and charter schools beginning in the 2017-18 school year.
It was carried in the House by Representative Ron Hicks, who in 2014 performed CPR on a woman in the Capitol Rotunda, helping save her life.
“What we’re doing here is we’re adding a 30-minute portion to the curriculum in the health or in the physical education side of the curriculum,” said Hicks. “In that 30-minutes what they will do is they will go over a video and have a hands-on training seminar done to teach – not to certify – to teach the fundamentals of CPR.”
The bill is not projected to cost the state anything because the American Heart Association agreed to provide $150,000 to make sure that every high school in Missouri has a kit used in the training.
Jace Smith, Senior Government Relations Director with the Association, says there are too many victims of sudden cardiac arrest who die because no one nearby knows CPR to administer it before emergency medical personnel arrive.
“Our science shows at the national level that less than one-third of sudden cardiac arrest victims get that bystander CPR before an ambulance does arrive on the scene, and it literally has hurt survival rates,” said Smith. “A bystander in good faith goes out and administers CPR literally more than doubles their survival rate – 14-percent to 33-percent – and these are cases that are just out in the public. It could be at your local Wal-Mart, your local Grocery Store.”
Smith says hands-only CPR can easily be learned in 30-minutes.
“It’s literally constant compressions on a victim of sudden cardiac arrest’s chest and that’s really what the training walks you through. How to respond to that chain of survival, so making sure you call 911, starting that activation is a key component of that,” said Smith.
He said the training also goes over the use of an automated external defibrillator, which many schools have but Smith says many students don’t know where they are or how to use them.
“We’ve found a 3rd grader can use an automated external defibrillator. They’re that easy,” said Smith.
In a statement about signing the bill, Governor Nixon wrote, “Basic first aid can sometimes be the difference between life and death. Making sure young people are familiar with CPR and the Heimlich maneuver is a prudent addition to their coursework in physical education.”