Be a Lifesaver
Byline: Jamie Stengle Associated Press
DALLAS -- Learning CPR at school has given 14-year-old Olivia Frierson more confidence when she baby-sits or helps out at a church nursery.
"I'm not as worried if something would happen," said Olivia, a ninth-grader at Shaker Heights High School in suburban Cleveland.
The American Heart Association thinks there should be more students like Olivia. It wants states to require high school students to learn how to give CPR and use an automated external defibrillator before they graduate.
That would "create a generation that could be trained, ready and willing to act," said Mary Fran Hazinski, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn.
She's one of the authors of an advisory that the heart group developed with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians. It calls for state legislatures to require students to get CPR and AED training before graduating from high school.
At least 36 states either require or encourage cardiopulmonary resuscitation training in schools, according to the heart group. However, that ranges from suggesting that students recognize the steps of CPR to requiring certification.
Sudden cardiac arrest -- when the heart suddenly stops beating -- is a leading cause of death in the U.S. The heart association says an estimated 300,000 cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital each year. Survival, which varies greatly from region to region, is estimated to be only about 8 percent on average. …