Gov. DeSantis signs bill requiring all Florida high school students to learn CPR

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed 44 bills, including a measure that will require high-school freshmen and juniors in Florida to take one hour of instruction on how to administer CPR.

The bill (HB 157) passed the House and Senate in unanimous votes during the legislative session that ended April 30.

Under the measure, school districts will be required to provide one hour of "basic training in first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation" to all students in ninth and eleventh grades.

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School districts also will be "encouraged" to begin giving basic first-aid and CPR training to students in grade 6 and 8. A House staff analysis said CPR, when started immediately, can double or triple a person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest.

During the legislative session, several supporters of the bill described personal experiences of themselves or loved ones experiencing cardiac arrest. 

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(Photo By Tim Leedy/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

During a meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee in April, Edward Kosiec recounted to legislators going into sudden cardiac arrest at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Boynton Beach in 2019. A high-school senior who worked at the restaurant administered CPR to Kosiec, saving his life.

Kosiec, who founded the non-profit group Every Second Counts CPR, told lawmakers that making CPR instruction mandatory would prepare students for emergency situations like his.

"We’ll have an army of life-savers, year after year, that know what to do," he told the panel.

The measure will go into effect July 1.

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Meanwhile, those who teach others to perform CPR say the skills are vital for everyone.

"We approach the victim calling out 'are you okay?' in a loud voice," explains Manny Perez, an Instructor/Trainer/Educator with the American Red Cross of Central Florida. 

With two hands, Perez helps adults and kids unlock the life-saving power we all possess.

"We'll want to begin CPR as early as possible by delivering compressions in the center of the chest to a depth of at least two inches at a rate of 100 to 120 beats a minute," Perez explains to students. "If we feel just about the middle of the nipple line in the center of the chest, we can use the heel of our hand to push the chest down by putting the other hand on top and locking the elbows, we more effectively use our body weights to compress."

Just one hour of instruction creates thousands of young potential life savers.

"It's very exciting for us," Perez said. "The earlier we educate every member of the community with this knowledge and with these skills, the safer everybody's going to feel."  

Of course, anyone at any age can learn CPR. To sign up for classes, visit https://www.Redcross.Org/take-a-class.