Thirty-two states have passed laws or adopted curriculum changes to require hands-only guidelines-based CPR training for all students before they graduate from high school. That means that each year, more than 1.8 million public high schools graduates will have been trained in CPR.
Just over a year ago, the Maine Legislature overrode the Governor’s veto on LD556, a bill that required schools to offer Hands Only CPR training to all students. The rulemaking on the new law can’t be completed until the Maine Department of Education has a Commissioner, but that does not mean that schools shouldn’t start training their students this year. We are hoping that the rule will be strong enough to require the training for each and every student. If not, we will continue to strive to make Maine’s law and rules strong enough to meet our evidence-based guidelines.
LD 556 did not have any money attached to it, so the American Heart Association in Maine has been busy trying to raise some funds to purchase CPR in Schools kits for local school districts. We are committed to do all we can to ensure schools have all the resources they need. I can’t talk about all of our efforts, but I can mention some awesome success we have already had. There are 2 trusts that were set up to enhance the American Heart Association’s mission in Maine. This year, we used the funds from these trusts to purchase 34 CPR in schools kits. Each kit has all the supplies needed to train hundreds of students (10 at a time)!
The kits arrived at our office on Friday and I was there to help lug them to our little storage room. The excitement from the rest of the AHA staff was palpable (even though the boxes were quite heavy). It is so fun to imagine kids throughout Maine learning skills that could someday save a life.
If you’d like to be involved in making sure your local school district is doing all it can to train students in life-saving CPR, please let me know. As always, I can be reached at Becky.Smith@heart.org.