Public health advocates are urging the D.C. Council to require every high school student in the District to learn CPR before they graduate.
They hope to amend a bill the council is currently considering on emergency procedures in the city’s school. The measure would require each school to have and maintain an automated external defibrillator, or AED, and to train staff members to use the device. But advocates said the bill could be stronger.
“Every minute, every second counts,” when it comes to cardiac arrest, said Ankoor Shah, a board member for the D.C. chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics during a public hearing this month. “Required CPR and AED training for all students would dramatically increase the number of first responders in the school and community. Thousands and thousands of citizens will be armed with how to save a life.”
Across the country, 27 states already have moved to make CPR a high school graduation requirement, including Maryland and Virginia. Most of the bills have been passed since 2012, said Stuart Berlow, director of government relations for the American Heart Association, which is lobbying for the legislation.