CPR To Be Taught To Pa. Students

WARREN, Pa. — The how and when have yet to be specified, but one thing is certain, students at Warren Area High School will soon be required to learn potential life-saving skills.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 7 of 2019, formerly Senate Bill 115, into law June 12. The law will require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create curriculum for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The curriculum and guidelines are required to be identified or developed by the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, according to J.J. Abbott, press secretary for the governor’s office.

School leaders in the Warren County School District are waiting for direction from PDE as far as the specifics of the new requirements, according to Eric Mineweaser, the school district’s director of curriculum instruction and assessment.

The question for various school districts becomes, “Where is this material being taught? Are we going to teach it within our Health 7 and Health 9 courses?” Mineweaser said. “We do already have First Aid/CPR, but it’s an elective.”

More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year, and nearly 45 percent of those patients who received CPR survived, according to the governor’s press release.

CPR, if administered immediately after cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival, the American Heart Association reported.

“I’m proud to sign into law this important life-saving measure. Each additional set of hands trained to do CPR increases the likelihood that a cardiac arrest will be reversed,” Wolf said. “Teaching our young Pennsylvanians to save a life not only promotes the health of all Pennsylvanians, it builds a sense of community and neighbourliness.”

Act 7 requires PDE to provide a curriculum to schools to teach hands-only CPR, a no-breath, compression-only technique recommended by the American Heart Association for sudden cardiac arrests.

The curriculum must also include the use of automatic external defibrillators.

According to an explanation of Senate Bill 115 from it’s prime sponsor, Sen. Thomas Killion, the CPR curriculum will pertain to students in grades 9 to 12. Killion proposed that PDE consult with stakeholders knowledgeable in the content area to design model curriculum, age-appropriate materials and guidelines for integrating CPR instruction into existing curriculum.