Wisconsin became the latest state in the country to require CPR training in its schools under legislation signed into law this week.
The measure was inspired by the heroic actions of several teenagers who came to the rescue of a man who had suffered a heart attack while riding his bike, said state Sen. Jerry Petrowski, one of the bill’s primary sponsors.
“Without the quick thinking and action of three CPR-trained teenagers who happened to be nearby, he would not have survived,” Petrowski said. “This incident really showed me the importance of this legislation and prompted me to author this bill.”
The legislation requires all Wisconsin public, charter and private schools to teach CPR, as well as cardio cerebral resuscitation, or CCR, as part of health education classes offered to students between seventh and 12th grade. The law takes effect with the 2017-2018 school year.
With the bill’s passage, Wisconsin becomes the 31st state in the nation requiring CPR training from its students. It also became the fourth state to pass such a law this year, following South Carolina, Kentucky and New Mexico.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law on Tuesday at a Wausau high school, commending the measure for giving students “the training they need to offer aid and potentially save lives.”
According to American Heart Association statistics, about 38 people each hour have a cardiac arrest event while not in a hospital, and nine of 10 don’t survive. Receiving CPR, however, can double or even triple the victim’s chances of survival.
“Minutes count in these situations,” Walker said. “By teaching lifesaving skills like CPR as early as middle school, Wisconsin students receive important training they’ll be able to use in the real world.”
In Missouri, lawmakers in the state House approved its own CPR bill, but the measure still awaits action in the state senate. A CPR in schools proposal also has been introduced in Michigan, where sponsors have publicly championed the measure.