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Michigan Joins Growing Number of States Requiring CPR Training for Students

Starting next school year, students in Michigan will be required to undergo CPR training to graduate.

The new rule comes thanks to legislation that passed last month.

Michigan joins 35 other states that require students to be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Michigan's law also requires that students receive training in operating automated external defibrillators.

Only 10 states have no laws related to teaching CPR in schools:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wyoming

But legislation has been proposed in Hawaii and in Pennsylvania.

Some other states recommend CPR training but don't require it.

The American Heart Association reports that each year more than 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and nearly 90 percent of them die. But performing CPR within minutes can double or triple the chance of survival.

"When bystanders know CPR, they're much more likely to act if someone drops in front of them," said Douglas Dunsavage, a state advocacy consultant for the American Heart Association.

About seven years ago, the organization began pushing for schools to make learning CPR a graduation requirement. Dunsavage said ideally schools would be providing hands-on instruction in this lifesaving skill.

"We don't just want students watching a video," said Dunsavage. "If you don't actually perform the hands-on practice, the retention isn't as good."

Students can be trained in 30 minutes, and Dunsavage said the cost is minimal. In many cases, schools work with local first responders to coordinate the training.

"You're going to have generations of lifesavers," said Dunsavage. "As more and more bystanders get trained, more and more lives will be saved."

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