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Ill. law requires high school CPR, defibrillator training

The governor signed the bill Thursday and it goes into effect for the 2014-2015 school year

NORMAL, Ill. – Beginning this year, all Illinois high school students will be required to learn CPR and how to use a defibrillators as part of a new law that Gov. Pat Quinn approved Thursday.

He signed the bill at the annual meeting of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“It is not often our high school students are faced with the opportunity to save a life,” Quinn said in a press release. “Should an emergency arise, we want our students ready to step in and take action.”

House Bill 3724 makes the training mandatory for all secondary schools in the state. Students can opt out if their parents submit a written objection. The law takes effect for the 2014-2015 school year.

Quinn was joined at the signing by George Laman and Eric Bell, who have been strong supporters of the bill.

Laman recommended it to lawmakers after his daughter Lauren collapsed and died at her high school drill team practice in 2008. There was a mobile defibrillator nearby, but it wasn’t used until paramedic arrived 13 minutes later.

Eric Bell, also a supporter, said he is alive because his son Harry, a junior at the time, had learned CPR during a health class at a Catholic school. When his heart stopped, Harry performed CPR on his father for 12 minutes until medics arrived.

“This common-sense law,” Quinn said, “will make sure they are better prepared to help their classmates, teachers, family and friends in case of an emergency.”