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Growing number of states requiring CPR training for high school graduation

Posted at 2:05 PM, Oct 04, 2021

CELEBRATION, Fla. — Almost half of the people who receive CPR, 45%, received it from a bystander. That’s why kids at one Florida high school are learning it.

Students at Celebration High School are getting a crash course in saving lives.

“As soon as the video is over, I’m going to explain to them what we are doing with the dummies and how they are doing CPR and how we’re checking them,” said Rokaia Collison, a teacher leading the training.

A new law in Florida now requires 9th and 11th graders to learn the lifesaving technique.

According to the American Heart Association, Florida is the 39th state where CPR training is mandatory.

“Learning hands-only CPR teaches them skills outside of a high school setting and as they grow older, should they experience somebody experiencing out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, they might be able to assist them,” said Michelle Turnage with the American Heart Association.

Natasha Alejandro is a junior at Celebration High School. We followed her through the process of learning CPR.

She and her classmates got in line and when it was their turn, they stepped up to the dummies.

"It doesn’t seem hard, but I feel like if I was doing it to a real person, I’m not doing anything because I can’t feel the clicking,” she said.

It’s not a real-life experience, but now Alejandro and hundreds of other students have a little more know-how should they need it.

“Conditioning always conditions you for the main event, so I guess learning this beforehand does condition you to any certain event,” said Alejandro.

It’s a real-world skill that students like Brandon Gonzales are happy to have. He’s a funny kid, but he knows this is serious.

“That’s a life, got to save everyone, because everyone is equal,” he said.

You never know when you might be able to save a life

“He died on the gym floor and while we can’t say what the outcome would have been, he had absolutely no chance at survival in his situation when there’s no CPR and no AED used, then you have no chance," said Kristin Cobb Simpson.

She lost her nephew, Burke, in 2012 after he collapsed during a pickup basketball game. Burke had an enlarged heart and went into cardiac arrest.

Despite his condition, the family believes if CPR had been initiated, there’s a good chance Burke could have survived. In 2014, they lobbied the Louisiana legislature to pass the Burke Cobb Act, requiring all Louisiana high school students to learn CPR.

“Even that situation that Burke was in, those 20 to 25 friends could be potential lifesavers,” said Cobb Simpson.

The kids we spoke with in Celebration are happy about the new law in Florida.

“Enforcing this does give us a positive outlook when it comes to certain situations like this. Hey, I do know how to do this, hey I can be useful. Even if we called 911, it takes a while to get here,” said Alejandro.

While they’re waiting for professionals to arrive, kids in Celebration, and across the country will have the skills to help save a life.