Lawmaker wants CPR training required for all Kentucky high schoo - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Lawmaker wants CPR training required for all Kentucky high schoolers

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A state lawmaker said he planned to file legislation that would require all Kentucky students to learn CPR as part of their high school health class. A state lawmaker said he planned to file legislation that would require all Kentucky students to learn CPR as part of their high school health class.
Sylvia Cerel-Suhl Sylvia Cerel-Suhl
Will Freeman Will Freeman
Salin Simpson Salin Simpson

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - A state lawmaker said he planned to file legislation that would require all Kentucky students to learn CPR as part of their high school health class.

A larger number of people trained in life-saving techniques would save lives -- especially in a state known for its health problems, said Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg.

"We're missing out on an opportunity to really help people in this Commonwealth," Greer said Tuesday at a news conference.

The potential cost of training wasn't immediately available, and school administrators could find it cost-prohibitive to start new programs because of a lack of funding increases over the past six years.

Jefferson County Public Schools doesn't currently require that its students receive CPR training, said Ben Jackey, a district spokesman. Jackey declined further comment, citing the district's policy on pending legislation.

Every year, more than 4,600 Kentuckians die because of cardiac arrest that occurs outside of a hospital, said Sylvia Cerel-Suhl, a Lexington doctor.

"Obviously, we want to change that," she said. Cerel-Suhl said the first few minutes after a victim suffers cardiac arrest are the most critical, which is often too short for emergency help to arrive.

Will Freeman, a Lexington high school student, said at the news conference that he planned to provide CPR training to all 500 people in his senior class over a four-day period in February.

Freeman said he got certified in CPR after his younger brother's friend suffered a heart attack at a birthday party.

"Only one person at the party knew how to save him," Freeman said. "I thought, if I was in that situation, I would not have known what to do."

The American Heart Association is helping Freeman to provide the training, which will take about 30 minutes for each student.

Greer said it was difficult to know how many school districts already require students to learn CPR.

None of Salin Simpson's middle school students in Georgetown knew the life-saving technique. When a student went into cardiac arrest during an ultimate Frisbee game in gym class last year, the CPR-trained Simpson acted.

"If nobody had been around who knew (CPR), we could've lost someone who should've been saved," Simpson said, adding that the student is back in his class this year. "It's just like a car wreck -- you never know when a car wreck's going to happen. You never know when someone's going to need CPR."

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