Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation requiring high school students in Missouri to receive basic CPR training before graduating.
Senate Bill 711 doesn't require students to become CPR certified, but it does require them to attend a 30-minute presentation on how to perform hands-only CPR, along with the Heimlich maneuver "or other first aid for choking."
"Basic first aid can sometimes be the difference between life and death," Nixon said in a written statement. "Making sure young people are familiar with CPR and the Heimlich maneuver is a prudent addition to their coursework in physical education."
The new law was sponsored by state Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla.
"This is something that kids can use all their lives," he said. "Even if they're not paying much attention in class, they're going to pick up enough to save someone's life, and I thought it was very, very important that it be included in schools."
Brown also said the American Heart Association will pay for the program and that it won't cost the state any money.
"What we hope to do with this idea is get kids a little more interested," he said. "There is actually a film presentation, and the American Heart Association will provide little dummies that they have … they can be reused over and over."
The 30-minute CPR requirement won't take effect until the 2017-2018 school year. It will apply to both public high schools and charter schools in Missouri.
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