Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Saturday AB 1719, a law that requires hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instruction, along with Automated External Defibrillator awareness in high school health classes, an American Heart Association spokeswoman said.
California is the 35th state to provide CPR training in schools, along with Washington, D.C., spokeswoman Robin Swanson said. State Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) authored the bill.
“As an Emergency Medical Technician for over 30 years, I know that CPR is one of the most important life skills a person can have,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
“By teaching CPR in high school, we are sending students into the world with essential, life-saving skills,” Rodgriguez said.
High schools will begin to teach CPR in health classes in the 2018-2019 school year, Swanson said, in a lesson that takes 30 minutes.
“I am so glad I learned CPR at a young age because it helped save my friend’s life,” 13-year-old American Heart Association volunteer Skylar Berry said in a statement.
“We should all be prepared to act in the case of an emergency and I’m happy other students will now get the chance to learn CPR,” Skylar said.
Skylar used her CPR training to save a friend from drowning in a swimming pool when she was 11, Swanson said. Many others have died because no one near them could administer CPR.
“If someone had been near my daughter at the time of her collapse had known how to conduct CPR, her life could have been saved,” AB 1719 advocate Debbie Wilson said in a statement.
“I want all students to have a chance to learn this life-saving skill so other families don’t suffer the same heartbreak that ours did,” Wilson said.
Every year, more than 350,000 people suffer from sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and less than one-third receives CPR from a bystander, Swanson said. CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chance of survival.
“So many lives have been saved because of the heroic act of bystanders who performed CPR. On the other hand, there are just as many stories of people who did not make it because no one nearby took action,” cardiothoracic surgeon Kathy Magliato said in a statement.
“With CPR in schools, we have the opportunity to create a generation in which teens and young adults in California [are] trained in CPR as part of their health education and prepared to save lives. AB 1719 will add thousands of qualified lifesavers to our state,” Magliato said.