OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Schools are known for teaching the three “R”s, but should CPR be added to the curriculum? A state Senate hearing in Olympia Monday focused on a bill that would require CPR training in schools.
American Heart Association advocates and partners were among those who testified in support of HB 1556. According to the American Heart Association, effective compressions-only CPR can be taught in a matter of minutes at little to no cost to schools.
“It only takes ten minutes, you don't have to be certified and you'll know what to do in an emergency,” Darla Varrenti explained.
Varrenti lost her son to a heart problem they never knew he had. She now pushes for heart screening for teens along with emergency life-saving training. She told the committee that the training could be done at a minimal cost.
It’s been almost a decade since CPR saved the life of Kayla Burt. The former UW basketball star’s heart stopped beating and teammates helped save her life.
“It's become my passion because my life was saved,” she said. “It's funny how the realities of your life shape your path. I never in a million years thought I'd be at the Capitol testifying to get CPR in schools.”
Burt currently works as an EMT. She’s made saving lives her profession and sharing the information her mission.
“We think it's a no-brainer,” said Burt. “These kids are learning a bunch of things in school. Why not learn something that could save someone's life and is very easy to do?”
Before they faced lawmakers in a hearing room, the group invited them to a capitol conference room for CPR training. Varrenti said she hopes the information helps people feel empowered.
“I think they're scared to respond, but with hands-only CPR, they don't have to do the rescue breaths. It's just 100 compressions per minute,” said Varrenti.
Medical experts say there is a misconception that you could injure someone by doing CPR. They say it's better to try something than to allow the person to continue without lifesaving efforts. “Good Samaritan” laws also protect those who try to help.
The bill has passed the House but still requires approval from a Senate committee and the state Senate.