CPR in Schools legislation moves through Senate

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Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would require students to receive CPR training before graduating high school was approved by the state Senate on Tuesday.

“Each year, around 350,000 Americans suffer from cardiac arrest,” said state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “When this occurs outside of a hospital setting, the chances of survival are very low. However, if a bystander trained in CPR intervenes, the chances of survival are significantly higher.”

Senate Bill 647 would require that prior to graduation, students receive instruction in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED).

“CPR training can take as little as 30 minutes and can be easily incorporated into the existing health curriculum. Many school districts across the state have already implemented CPR training into their lesson plans,” Schuitmaker said. “These schools have developed various models for providing the training and equipment, including the use of volunteer instructors or video-based programs, and drawing support from local police, fire and ambulance services.”

Sarah Poole, government relations director for the American Heart Association, expressed support from the organization.

“We applaud the Senate for its overwhelming support of this bill to ensure every student in Michigan learns the life-saving skill of CPR before graduation,” Poole said. “We await action in the House to make Michigan the next state to pass CPR in schools legislation so that we can prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s lifesavers.”

If signed into law, Michigan would join 32 other states that currently require CPR training prior to high school graduation. Schuitmaker suggests that training more students can only have a positive effect.

“If you increase the amount of people who are trained and capable of performing CPR, you increase the likelihood that a bystander will be able to intervene until emergency responders arrive,” Schuitmaker said. “These bills would bring Michigan in line with more than half of the country by ensuring all Michigan students learn the life-saving skill of CPR before graduation.”

SB 647 passed 37-0 in a unanimous vote by the Senate and will now move to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.

The House counterpart of SB 647, HB 5160, was approved by the House Committee on Education earlier this month and awaits similar action by the full House.