New law makes CPR lesson mandatory for students before high school graduation

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Students will soon get a lesson on life-saving before they graduate, thanks to a new bill signed into law by Governor Dennis Daugaard last week.

Graduation means taking the next step into the real world, but a new South Dakota law aims to prep students for more than just academics.

With a 30 minute lesson students could save a life by learning the right skills for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Those are the skills South Dakota students will learn across the state, now that Senate Bill 140, the CPR in Schools bill, was signed into law by Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Katy Urban with Rapid City Area Schools says, "I think it's a great thing, a great opportunity for our kids. The potential with the more students who know how to do CPR by hand, if they use those defribrillators, the more potential we have to save lives."
The law makes South Dakota the 36th state in the country to require a lesson on CPR before students graduate high school.
An initiative that could make a difference in a person's life, when medics can't immediately get to someone who's had sudden cardiac arrest.

Chief Jason Culberson says, "It takes us anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes to arrive on scene so if someone can initiate CPR right away - sooner, the earlier, the better."

The American Heart Association estimates this new legislation will add more than 10,000 hands-only CPR trained young adults to the community.
Culberson says, "It's something they're going to remember for the rest of their life. So we're getting them right away when they're in their teens. Teach them how to do CPR. It's a quick, easy skill to learn."

The AHA says local EMS agencies have agreed to provide the trainings to school districts free of charge.
Now school districts in the Mount Rushmore State are in the planning process.

Urban says, "We're going to start prep right now, where it will fit in the curriculum, whether that's P.E. or health, we don't know yet. There's a lot of planning to do before implementation takes place."

Urban says many students in Rapid City already get CPR training but when this law takes effect in July; it will make sure every student knows how to perform CPR by the time they graduate high school.