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Senate bill would require CPR training for high school graduation

NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

New legislation would require students in Michigan to be equipped with save life-saving skills before they graduate high school.

Senate Bill 647, introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, would require schools to add 30 minutes of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training to their curricula for students between 7th and 12th grades.

The legislation is based on the American Heart Association guidelines.

"Cardiac events happen, certainly heart disease is the number one killer of women in our state; and so that's why it's important to have this skill," Schuitmaker said.

In addition to CPR, students would learn how to operate Automated External Defibrillators devices, which are located in many schools and businesses.

"It's important that people be instructed to know how to use them, that thy're not scared; so when an emergency happens and arises, that people can jump to and save lives," Schuitmaker said.

Michigan teachers are trained in first aid and CPR, but Schuitmaker says the more people in an environment with the life-saving skill, the better.

"You never know who's going to be around, and certainly there's more students than teachers," she said.

The training could be obtained any time between a student entering 7th grade and their senior year of high school.

Schools would be responsible for funding the training.

"I don't think it's going to be overly burdensome and I don't think that there's a huge cost to it," Schuitmaker said. "And certainly when you measure the slight cost to the increase in lives saved, I certainly think that outweighs it."

Students who are physically unable to perform CPR would be exempt from the requirement.

"This will save lives," Schuitmaker said.

Currently, students in 27 states are required to receive CPR training before they graduate high school.

The bill has moved to the Senate Education Committee.

- Paulette Parker, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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