Monday, May 15, Governor Brian Sandoval officially signed Assembly Bill 85 into law, requiring all Nevada students to receive instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator before graduation from high school.
“We’re very pleased to see this important bill become a law. Nevada now joins 36 other states in the U.S. that have passed legislation ensuring all students are trained in basic CPR prior to high school graduation. These states add over one million lifesavers to their local communities each year,” said Rick Casazza, board member, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Northern Nevada.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death, with nearly 326,200 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring each year in the United States. It strikes suddenly and without warning, and what happens within the first few minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
Clark County Fire and Rescue responded to 748 people who suffered a cardiac arrest in 2013. Only 20 percent of those people received bystander CPR; while nationally, only 45.9 percent of witnessed cardiac arrests receive CPR from a bystander, prior to EMS arrival. As a result, survival rates of a SCA are dismal, around 10-11 percent, often because the person who witnesses the cardiac event is not trained to react properly. Evidence shows that CPR initiated promptly by a bystander can double or even triple the chances of survival. With EMS response times exceeding 10 minutes in many areas Nevada, the need for trained bystanders is extremely important.
Clark County School District was an early adopter in Nevada of the CPR in Schools program and has seen the benefits of the training. “Training our students in CPR prepares them to help others in their time of need. It’s easy to incorporate into the school day, and the students love the interactive nature of the training,” said Diane Towery, Health Teacher, Fertitta Middle School, Clark County Nevada.
When AB 85 is enacted on July 1, 2017, over 48,000 students a year across Nevada will be trained to respond in a cardiac emergency until medical professionals arrive. For more information about AB 85, please contact Ben Schmauss at (702) 408-4208. For more information about CPR, please visit www.heart.org/CPR.