Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bill would ensure students receive CPR skills

The Kentucky State Senate passed legislation Thursday aimed at improving Kentuckians' chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest. The legislation passed by a vote of 32 to 6 with strong bipartisan support. Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, voted for the measure.

Senate Bill 33, sponsored by Senator Max Wise from Campbellsville would ensure that Kentucky high school students receive a basic CPR training as part of high school health education, physical education or Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps course that meets the physical education graduation requirement.

“I am very excited to champion SB 33 the CPR bill in the Senate and look forward to learning about its successes as it makes its way through the House," said Senator Wise. "I’d like to thank Rep. Jeff Greer for paving the way for this cause in the legislature.   Representative Greer and I both care very much about our students learning hands on CPR because it saves lives, and I look forward to working with him to pass this legislation that we care so deeply about. “

This bill is a major initiative of the American Heart Association both in Kentucky and nationally. In 2011, the association released a Scientific Advisory stating that bystander CPR training and an overview of AEDs should be required for all high school students. Such training would rapidly increase the number of people ready to respond to sudden cardiac arrest, a leading cause of death in the United States.  If passed, Senate Bill 33 will make Kentucky the 28th state with such a law. Already more than a million students are being trained in CPR each year because of this initiative.

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and nearly 326,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year.

Unfortunately, nearly 90% of cardiac arrest victims do not survive mostly because they don’t receive timely CPR. Our society has the opportunity to change this grim statistic by ensuring more people are trained in CPR, which can double or triple the chances of survival.  High schools can play a pivotal role by creating a generation of lifesavers by making sure all students learn CPR before they graduate. In less than 30 minutes we can give students the skills they need to help save someone’s life.

Without immediate, effective CPR from a bystander, a person’s chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest decreases 7 percent to 10 percent per minute.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.