CPR Life Skills Training that Matters

February 23, 2015

Hartford, CT – State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) testified before the Public Health Committee of the General Assembly on Monday in support of a bill that would require CPR (cardiopulmonary) training in schools.

“In late 2009 my wife died of a massive heart attack. As I attempted to administer CPR, I realized that I really didn’t know the correct procedure and was responding based on my assumptions,” stated Sen. Formica. “Although training in my case, most likely would not have saved Donna – I firmly believe that everyone should be trained to perform this life saving technique.”

There are almost 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the United States – and most of them are fatal.

Five minutes is the difference between life and death. If no CPR is provided or no defibrillation occurs within 3 to 5 minutes of collapse, the chances of survival drop. Sadly, the demand for CPR is high, but the supply of people with basic CPR skills is low and inconsistent.

Senator Formica agrees with The American Heart Association, which is leading a nationwide campaign to pass state laws that will ensure all students learn the lifesaving skill of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before they graduate from high school.

CPR training can be worked into existing health classes. CPR training in schools should cover key areas, including how to recognize an emergency, an emphasis on high-quality chest compressions and skills practice. And at a minimum, an AED overview should cover the purpose, simplicity and safety of the devices.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of women: moms, sisters, grandmas, aunts. We debate many critically important issues in this building to make lives better for everyone in our state. What else could be more important than saving a life?” asked Sen. Formica.

Senator Formica fielded questions from the committee members about whether this mandate would be too costly to school districts. The American Heart Association says CPR has evolved; it has gotten both easier and affordable. It is no longer just the “traditional” certified 6 hour course. There are many inexpensive options to learn CPR that do not entail taking a certified course. For example:

  • CPR anytime kits cost less than $30.
  • One manikin and a DVD – this is a one-time purchase and can be reused.
  • Schools can accept gifts, grants and donations to purchase materials for such training.

CPR training can be incorporated into the school curriculum without recurring costs for schools. The proposed legislation will now go to the education committee for consideration.

To learn more about heart disease during “Heart Healthy Month” of February visit http://wellhealedwoman.org/