American Heart Association volunteers urge swift passage of lifesaving bill
American Heart Association volunteers are optimistic that the state Senate will pass the CPR In Schools bill today, Thursday, June 12, since it moved out of the Rules committee last night.
“Eight days ago, I was one of nearly 100 American Heart Association volunteers at the CPR Rally at the Capitol,” said Karen Acompora of Northport. “My son Louis lost his life to sudden cardiac arrest when he was 14, and I have been coming to the Capitol for eight years to ask lawmakers to pass this bill. What a tribute it would be to my son to see this bill pass.”
Suzy McCarthy of Evans also lost a child to sudden cardiac arrest.
“My daughter Madison will always be 5 years old, the age she was when she died,” McCarthy said. “I hope that today, we are applauding the Senate for passing a bill that stops sudden cardiac arrest from cutting lives short.”
The bill is in the Assembly Rules Committee.
An updated version of the CPR in Schools bill (A9298/S7096), sponsored by Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, calls on the Commissioner of the State Education Department and the Board of Regents to determine if CPR and AED instruction should be included in the curriculum for all students prior to graduation. Last week advocates from throughout the state – Acompora and McCarthy among them – traveled to Albany to show lawmakers how easy it is to perform CPR. They pointed out that CPR is easy and affordable; and 17 other states have already passed laws to teach their students this basic life skill. Hands-Only CPR and the basics of how to use an AED can be taught in as little as one class period at minimal or even no-cost to school districts.
Nearly 424,000 people suffer out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest each year, and only 10.4% survive. Having CPR performed doubles or triples the chances of survival.
“As a career paramedic, educator and American Heart Association spokesman, it has been a priority for three decades to see all high school students learn CPR,” said Bob Elling of Colonie. “This will save thousands of lives in our state alone.”