The state legislature recently passed the House Enrolled Act 1290 , which requires all school corporations and accredited nonpublic schools in Indiana to offer CPR instruction to high schoolers before they graduate.
Students are not required to be CPR-certified before they graduate, but schools must offer the option for certification .
Scott Gerding, of the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis, said training can be helpful even if students don’t get their official CPR certification.
“It just puts the lifesaving material in the hands of more people,” he said. “And it gives more people access to learn how to appropriately perform chest compressions and rescue breaths.”
Schools are now required to teach students how to do chest compressions and use an automated external defibrillator.
While the law lays out guidelines for what students should know about CPR, schools can choose which curriculum to use.
The American Heart Association and American Red Cross both have approved instructional programs available, but corporations can use a different program if it is nationally recognized and up-to-date.
The Red Cross also offers CPR training classes at its local chapters.
“Generally we’ve got classes throughout the state of Indiana that aren’t more than a 45-minute drive for anyone,” Gerding said. “On any given week, the Red Cross in Indiana is teaching 300 to 400 Hoosiers CPR and first aid.”
The curriculum required by HEA 1290 includes hands-on training. The Red Cross offers its CPR training curriculum to public schools at no cost, Gerding said. The average class lasts four to five hours, and students take a scenario-based test to demonstrate their CPR skills.
“I think the end goal is just to train more people,” Gerding said. “So, when an emergency happens, there are more people who are trained and empowered and prepared to respond.”