New York to Require Students to Learn CPR

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High school students in New York state will soon be required to learn CPR and how to use automated defibrillators under a new law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The bill (S7096) was approved by the state legislation in June, with the American Heart Association pressuring the governor to sign it into law.

“By teaching students these critically important skills, we are giving them the tools to literally save lives,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I am proud to sign this bill into law because it is a common-sense way to improve the education of young New Yorkers and ultimately create a healthier and safer New York for all.”

A number of parents had lobbied for the change as well.  Audrey Linguanti of Spring Valley, Rockland County, was looking to honor the memory of her son, Vincent, who passed away in 2006 due to an enlarged heart.

“Since then I have been working hard to pass the CPR in schools bill, in his memory,” Linguanti said in a statement. “Governor Cuomo’s signature on this bill is a good step toward saving so many lives – like Vincent wanted to when he joined the local fire department.”

The CPR training can be accomplished in as little as 30 minutes with training on the use of automatic defibrillators (AED).

The state Education Department has 180 days to make recommendations on CPR requirements for students, which the Board of Regents will then have 60 days to act on.  The Regents could possibly reject the training, but in order to do so it would need to offer sound reasons for doing so to the governor and Legislature.

A similar law was signed in August in New Jersey by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno effecting all public and charter school students in grades 9-12.  Starting this year, the students will be required to have CPR lessons but do not need to be certified.  Guadagno was acting as governor while Governor Chris Christie was out of state.

The new law makes New York the 19th state to make the requirements of its students.

“My daughter Emily was 14 when she took her last breath in my arms,” said Annette Adamczak of Akron, who, on Sunday, orchestrated a CPR Flash Mob on the fields near where her daughter collapsed. “Governor Cuomo has used his heart in signing this bill, and done his part to make sure all New York students are trained in CPR. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would give my hands the knowledge that could have saved a life – my child’s life.”

Over 400,000 heart attacks happen annually outside of hospitals in the United States, with 80% of them occurring at home and 90% of those victims dying because they did not receive CPR in time.  If given right away, CPR can double or triple a victim’s chances of survival.