A bill introduced in the South Dakota legislature would require that schools teach students CPR before they graduate, preparing them to respond to sudden cardiac arrest.

Senate Bill 145 is sponsored by 21 Senators and 37 House members.  Senate Majority Leader Tim Rave is the lead sponsor of the bill.

If passed, the new law would require schools to incorporate the training into a course that all students would have to take prior to graduation.

Brian Hambek, past chair of the American Heart Association’s "Dakota Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee" says having a new generation of lifesavers will benefit everyone.

“The American Heart Association’s goal is to teach lifesaving CPR skills to as many teens and young adults as possible in South Dakota to help keep our communities safer, year after year."

Figures from the American Heart Association show that nearly 424,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10.4 percent of them survive.  Given right away, CPR doubles and even triples survival rates.

Sponsors of the bill say teaching students CPR in a rural state like South Dakota could save thousands of lives by filling our communities with young adults trained to give cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive.

To get more information on the bill, or to join the American Heart Association’s work to teach students CPR, visit www.YoureTheCure.org.