Why high school CPR, AED training is a no-brainer

It could be a miracle for many if Ill. legislators pass a bill to mandate kids learn the life-saving skills

Knowing how to perform CPR is literally a life-saving skill, and this is one area of emergency care where the public has to be involved.

We could not blanket our communities with enough professional responders to ensure immediate resuscitation, even in the most urban of neighborhoods. If we hope to achieve a huge jump in national resuscitation rates, it will have to come from an army of laypersons who know when there is a cardiac arrest, notify 911, begin compressions and use an AED, all within the first few minutes.

And a bill before the Illinois state legislature that would mandate CPR and defibrillator training in high schools is a good place to start.  

Over the years I’ve trained middle and high school students and teachers on how to perform CPR. It frankly couldn’t be any easier. Lots of hands on time, competitive contests, and a break from the routine of books and white boards all contribute to a fun, entertaining and rewarding learning experience.

For good measure, throw in some information about controlling bleeding, helping with an epinephrine autoinjector, and helping someone with aspirin and prescription nitroglycerin during a heart attack and you have someone who could literally save a life with little effort.

At the same time, I’ve been turned down by school districts that refuse to allow their teachers and students to be trained for free. Liability, packed curriculum, overworked teachers, and a lackadaisical attitude about CPR’s importance have been reasons given by school officials.

That’s tragic.

Learning the skills takes little time and effort, and can produce an outcome that can be a miracle for many. Hopefully Illinois lawmakers will do the right thing and mandate the training for their school system.

In no time they will have a sizeable population of would-be rescuers who will make a difference in someone’s life. 

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