House approves Schuitmaker CPR instruction legislation

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that will ensure students receive instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before graduating from high school was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives on Wednesday.

“When someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest, every second counts,” said state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “When an incident happens outside of a hospital, or in a remote area where medical care is not immediately available, the chances of survival drop significantly. While if someone who is trained in CPR is able to intervene, the chances of survival can triple.”

Senate Bill 647 would require that prior to graduation, students between grades seven and 12 receive instruction in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED). Many school districts across the state have already implemented CPR training into their lesson plans using video instruction and volunteer services from local police, firefighters and paramedics.

Students who are physically unable to perform CPR would be exempt from these requirements.

“Each year, around 350,000 Americans suffer from cardiac arrest,” Schuitmaker said. “We can drastically reduce this number by increasing the number of trained individuals in every community. Teaching our students this lifesaving skill can take as little as 30 minutes and can be easily incorporated into the existing health class curriculums.”

The bill has received bipartisan support in both chambers and was praised by the American Heart Association.

“Sen. Schuitmaker has been a longtime heart champion, and we thank her for sponsoring this critical legislation to ensure every student in Michigan learns the lifesaving skill of CPR before graduation,” said Sarah Poole, government relations director for the American Heart Association. “The American Heart Association applauds Senator Schuitmaker for her leadership to ensure today’s students have the skills they need to become tomorrow’s lifesavers.”

Schuitmaker believes the bill’s support comes from the fact that training more students can only have a positive effect.  Once the instruction is fully implemented, more than 100,000 students will be trained in CPR each year.

“It’s a simple equation. Increasing the amount of trained Good Samaritans will increase the likelihood that a bystander will be able to intervene until emergency responders arrive,” Schuitmaker said. “When someone goes into cardiac arrest, they typically have around five minutes for their heart to return to normal. After that threshold, the chances of the attack becoming fatal are dangerously increased. Having someone on site can literally be the difference between life and death.”

When the bill is signed by Gov. Snyder, Michigan will join more than half of the country in requiring CPR training prior to high school graduation.