Submitted by SCAFoundation on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 11:45am

In eighth grade, Noah Lack learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation in his Spring Branch Independent School District health class. He never dreamed the skills he learned that day would be put to the test so soon. Just a short time later, 15-year-old Lack saw neighbor Donnie Migl collapse from sudden cardiac arrest while walking his dog in the neighborhood. Immediately, Lack knew to get help, check for a pulse and begin chest compressions. Lack's lifesaving efforts revived Migl; had he not learned CPR at school, his neighbor might not be here today.

Stories like Lack and Migl's powered the American Heart Association's vision to create an army of lifesavers by way of the Texas public school system. Last year, the nation's oldest and largest volunteer-led organization set out to ensure that every high school graduate knows the basics of CPR. To accomplish this goal, the American Heart Association worked with lawmakers Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, and Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, to file HB 897, which would require quality CPR instruction to be taught between seventh and 12th grades in all Texas public schools.

On June 14, 2013, the Legislature enacted and Gov. Rick Perry signed HB 897 into law, making this journey a reality. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, during a health or physical education class or even a special assembly, students can learn the CPR skills they need to help save someone's life in less time than it takes to watch a 30-minute TV show.

HB 897 will ensure students practice "hands-on" training with a manikin to learn the psycho-motor skills necessary to perform CPR. Additionally, the bill allows for collaboration with fire departments, EMS, hospitals, etc., to provide manikins along with the training. Any instructor or school district employee can also teach the course without holding certification.