The American Heart Association (AHA) applauds the New York State Board of Regents for passing legislation to become the 26th state mandating that CPR training become a required part of the public school curriculum. With this law, which takes effect on October 7th, there will now be 1.5 million American teens trained in CPR every single school year.
When the AHA made the CPR in Schools initiative a national priority just four years ago, only Alabama and Iowa had CPR training as part of curriculum requirements. Today marks a national milestone for the initiative, as more than 50% of the nation's students now reside in states that mandate this important training. An interactive map showcasing the status of this legislation in each state can be found at www.heart.org/cprinschools.
About 326,000 Americans have an emergency medical services-assessed cardiac arrest outside of the hospital each year. Bystander CPR can increase a person's chances of survival by two- to three-fold, yet fewer than half receive it. To empower bystanders to take action, the AHA is committed to working with community leaders and policymakers to ensure all members of society have access to CPR trainings that can ultimately help save lives. Schools are a very powerful equalizer and an integral part of the solution in ensuring that these lifesaving skills are taught in an accessible and sustainable way.
"We are steadfast in our commitment to creating a culture in which CPR training is just as fundamental to our educational system as geometry and history," said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. "CPR training is a formative life skill and we are encouraged that New York and 25 other states share our position. But there is more work to be done. We will continue to promote CPR in Schools and ensure it is part of the national dialogue on education until these laws are passed in all 50 states."
Making our Communities Safer
Casey Stashenko, 17, is a testament to the importance of learning CPR in the school setting. If it weren't for the CPR he learned at Sand Creek Middle School in Colonie, NY, his father may not be alive today. In May 2012, Casey's mother found her husband, Joel, unresponsive. She dialed 911, called to Casey and began doing CPR. "I learned it at school," Casey said. "You're not doing it right." He jumped in and immediately began performing the CPR he had learned at school just a few months earlier. Stashenko is grateful he was able to use the technique to save his dad's life. He's seen firsthand the value of CPR, and that's why he's been an advocate for state lawmakers to make sure all high school students in his state learn this lifesaving skill.
Students, teachers, communities and organizations are joining forces to make CPR in schools a priority and put millions of qualified lifesavers in communities across the country. To learn more about the American Heart Association's CPR in Schools efforts, call 1-877-AHA4CPR or visit heart.org/CPRinSchools. Click here to view the updated School-Based Cardiac Emergency Response plan.