Legislation Would Add CPR Training to High School Health Classes

May 7, 2012
Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg was joined by over 80 American Heart Association volunteers from across New York State to advocate for legislation that would add CPR training to high school health classes. The young adults in this photo were all victims of sudden cardiac arrest and were saved because someone knew CPR.
Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Nassau County) announced that he introduced legislation that would require all schools to teach hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as part of the high-school health class curriculum (A.3980-A)

“This legislation will help save lives,” Assemblyman Weisenberg said. “The recent change to the CPR procedure by the American Heart Association makes learning and performing the method much easier. With minimal training, all of our students can become potential lifesavers.”

In 2010, the American Heart Association revised CPR guidelines to place a greater emphasis on chest compressions over mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The new version of CPR can be taught to high-school classes in under 30 minutes and high-school teachers themselves can learn the process from a DVD that costs less than $30. The legislation would not require students to become CPR certified, but to learn the basic skills.

Last week, Assemblyman Weisenberg joined over 80 American Heart Association volunteers from across New York State to advocate for the legislation. Among them was Ryan McCarthy of Long Beach, whose wife Kristin died of sudden cardiac arrest four years ago at the age of 30.

“Our son Connor was just three months old when Kristin died,” Ryan McCarthy said. “Teaching CPR in schools could prevent another family from experiencing the loss that we did.”

During his time in the Assembly, Assemblyman Weisenberg has worked hard to pass a number laws designed to save lives. In 2002, he authored Louis’ Law, requiring automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in all public schools (Ch. 60 of 2002). Since its passage, the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation notes that sixty lives have been saved due to the availability of an AED. Weisenberg subsequently worked to expand this measure to include health clubs and public buildings with a capacity of 1,000 or more (Ch. 186 of 2004; Ch. 683 of 2006) He also authored a law that would require the AEDs location to be posted at the building’s entrance (Ch. 236 of 2007).