SGF Nigel Holderby – 417-207-6349
American Heart Association and American Red Cross Urge
Reinstatement of CPR Training Requirement in House Bill 1337
Lifesaving law would equip 70,000 Missouri high school students
with new Hands-Only CPR skills each year, doubling cardiac arrest survival rates
Jefferson City, MO – Monday, May 7, 2012: In an effort to save lives, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross strongly urge the Missouri Senate to reinstate the requirement for CPR training in House Bill 1337. This legislation would enact lifesaving change to Missouri’s education policy, ensuring that students graduating from high school statewide know how to save a life in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest emergency. While HB 1337 was passed by the Missouri House of Representatives with the CPR training requirement, this provision was unfortunately removed by a Senate committee last week.
To protect the intent of the law and to ensure that 70,000 CPR-trained young adults are added to Missouri communities each year, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross are encouraging all Missourians to immediately contact their state senators to ask for their support of a CPR requirement in HB 1337. The timing of this request is especially important, as HB 1337 is scheduled to come up for debate on the floor of the Senate this week.
Several states, including Iowa, Minnesota, and Tennessee, have already passed legislation that is similar to HB 1337. Many schools throughout the country teach CPR by working the curriculum into existing health classes, investing as little as 30 minutes to prepare students to become a lifesaver. Studies have shown that students are capable of learning to effectively perform CPR.
“If you suffer sudden cardiac arrest, your best chance for survival is to receive bystander CPR until Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) arrive,” said Jace Smith, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association in Missouri. “This bill does not require complete certification – only a 30-minute, one-time training session over a student’s four-year high school career. We want to equip a generation of lifesavers by making sure students learn CPR before they graduate. In less time than it takes to watch a TV sitcom, students can learn the CPR skills needed to help save the life of another person.”
“CPR is the lifesaving solution,” said Debi Meeds, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross. “Many people are alive today because individuals trained in CPR – including youth and adults who received that training at school – gave someone CPR until EMT’s arrived. We need to train each generation so that every brother, sister, son, daughter, parent and friend is prepared to save a life when called upon.”
About the Prevalence of Sudden Cardiac Arrest:
Nearly 383,000 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year and only 11% of them survive. If given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates.
Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time. Sudden cardiac arrest is most often caused by a heart attack, but it can also be caused by trauma, an overdose, or near-drowning. In sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating, blood stops circulating, oxygen stops flowing to the brain, and the victim stops breathing.
About the Importance of CPR Training for Missourians:
Missourians have testified in support of HB 1337, sharing the personal stories of how CPR has touched their lives. These Missourians represent all walks of life – including the perspective of a mother, a teacher and a survivor. These touching stories are summarized below:
· A Mother
Donna Redd’s son, Austin, collapsed at school on May 13, 2010. Austin suffered from a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect. Due to the quick response of students, teachers, a nurse, and a resource officer, Austin is alive and well today. As a mother of three teenagers and a toddler, Donna knows the importance of CPR training in schools. Austin could have easily been out riding bikes, on the soccer field, on the school bus, or at home. Donna’s hope is that one day, no matter where someone may be, an individual will be ready to help when called upon.
“There are many schools already teaching CPR – we just need to get them all onboard,” said Donna. “One person can make a difference. It could very easily save the life of someone you love. I am thankful there was someone able to start CPR at school for Austin. I could not imagine how life would be without him.”
· A Teacher
Melissa Creed is a teacher at Wheaton Elementary School. On January 19, 2011, one of her co-workers and dear friends collapsed. Melissa had not been trained in CPR and was scared by her feeling of helplessness. Her friend and co-worker was not breathing and was lifeless on the floor. Fortunately, a school nurse was nearby and intervened. Melissa witnessed the importance of CPR and watched as her friend and colleague was brought back from near-death.
“I am now CPR certified and I believe that it is imperative that everyone learn this lifesaving technique,” said Melissa. “Becoming CPR certified was something that had been on my list of things to do for quite some time, and I am ashamed that I had never gotten around to it. In hindsight, I realize that learning CPR is a pretty small step to take. I will never forget the helpless feeling I felt that day. And, while I hope I never get put in that situation again, I definitely feel more prepared after learning CPR.”
· A Survivor
Sally Sharp is a teacher. One day last year, while eating lunch at school, her heart stopped without warning. She fell out of her chair and collapsed on the floor. None of her fellow teachers knew how to respond, but the school nurse was able to perform CPR until paramedics arrived to transport her to the hospital. The immediate actions of the school nurse saved Sally’s life – helping to maintain the flow of blood throughout her body until advanced care was available.
“Thirty minutes is all it would take,” said Sally. “Thirty minutes could save the life of your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. Thirty minutes is all the time it would take to teach CPR to a student. As an educator and a parent, I want high school students to have the opportunity to learn this lifesaving technique. It is our job as educators to prepare and equip students for life, and that should include CPR training.”
For More Information:
To learn more about the importance of CPR and the training that can save lives, the public is encouraged to contact the American Heart Association at www.heart.org/cpr or the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.
About the American Heart Association:
The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The AHA’s mission is to build healthier lives by preventing, treating and defeating these diseases – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. The organization funds cutting-edge research, conducts lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocates for the protection of public health. To learn more or join in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit www.americanheart.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross provides shelter, food and emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood and teaches lifesaving CPR and first aid skills. The organization provides international humanitarian aid and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a humanitarian organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American people to perform its mission. For more information on the Red Cross and CPR training, please visit www.redcross.org.
K. Nigel Holderby
Chief Communications Officer
American Red Cross
Southern Missouri Region
(417) 832-9500 ext 107 (p)
(417) 207-6349 (c)