CPR in Schools and Update: Success with work still to do!


Guest Blogger: Ben Schmauss, Government Relations Director, Nevada

In 2012, the American Heart Association began advocating for a CPR training requirement in our Nevada Schools and prior to the 2013 Legislative Session we presented on this issue to the leadership of many of our districts, as well as the state board of education.

With the support of many survivors and advocates statewide the CPR in Schools Bill, AB 414, became State Law NRS 389.0185 on July 1st 2013. This law does not mandate, but rather allows for schools to teach Hands-Only CPR, including a psychomotor skill-based component and the use of an AED, to the extent funding is available.

Following the passage of AB 414 American Heart Association staff worked diligently with the Clark County School District (CCSD), to implement the law as written with funds they had available. CCSD purchased 500 CPR mannequins and 70 Friends and Family CPR DVDs and facilitator guides in early 2013 to begin a soft roll out of the new CPR in Schools law. We worked with CCSD to connect with local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff to provide professional development.  Subsequently, over 43 middle school health teachers were trained on how to teach Hands-Only CPR and were provided access to the resources and materials they needed.

The CCSD health leadership team received a lot of positive feedback in the spring of 2014 about their efforts to implement this lifesaving law. After meeting with AHA staff and looking back on their efforts over the past school year, CCSD decided to add Hands-Only CPR to their mandatory curriculum for eighth-grade health. In addition to CCSD, the Washoe County School District (WCSD) and others have made strides to comply with this law, to the extent they have resources available.  But many of the schools and communities that need this training the most are still without.

It is estimated that approximately half a million students will become trained to respond to a cardiac event utilizing Hands-Only CPR over the next 12 years if we effectively support and fund the CPR in Schools effort. We are striving to remove the resource barrier to this important lifesaving skill by obtaining sustainable funding in the state budget. The national guidelines for CPR in Schools funding is $5 per student in one grade. In Nevada, if we look at eighth grade, that would bring us to a yearly funding line item of only $171k. Last year, Utah added CPR in School funding to their budget at $5.73 per student. The extra 73 cents per student was to account for the growing student population.

We have taken giant steps in the right direction when it comes to preparing our students to respond and contribute to a healthier community. The next essential step is obtaining the yearly funding needed for our students and schools. Our communities are already safer places to live thanks to the great work that has gone into CPR in Schools. Thank You.

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