JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Florida students return to school, there are two things they will have to learn before they can graduate: First Aid and CPR.
“It’s amazing,”. said Amber Wilson, First Coast American Heart Association executive director. “The American Heart Association has been advocating for years to garner awareness and spread awareness and the importance of raising and raising awareness to get them to teach hands-only CPR.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the requirement into law on July 1. Freshmen and junior students will learn how to perform CPR and First Aid.
Advocates say this will save lives through education. Emergencies are scary and sometimes require First Aid and CPR.
“It’s going to be critical for our community to have more teens trained every year,” Wilson said.
It is all because of a new law requiring all Florida districts to teach high school students First Aid and CPR.
“A lot of districts are doing it,” Wilson said. “But to have a policy in place that allows it to be something that is going to be happening for thousands and thousands of high school students is amazing. That’s more live savers we are going to have out in our communities.”
Wilson added that 70% of cardiac arrest incidents occur outside of a hospital setting.
“So if you come across somebody that is in cardiac arrest, and you need to perform CPR, you’re going to act very fast,” she said. “The rapidness between the way you react is going to be between life and death for them.”
Wilson demonstrated what to do.
“You take your hand and put the heel of your hand on the center of their chest,” she said. “Then you take your other hand and you put it over. You are going to do those forceful compressions down, 100-120 beats per minute. Sing ‘Staying Alive’ in your head.”
Wilson believes this will pave the way for more students to learn these life-saving measures.
“If you think about this being a requirement for now high school-aged students, I mentioned it takes 90-seconds to learn, why not teach younger students,” she said.
If you are alone during an emergency that requires you to perform CPR, call 911, turn on your phone’s speaker and begin chest compressions.
According to the organization Parent Heart Watch, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for student-athletes.
Students learning CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can potentially change those numbers.