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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2017 


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CPR Law Puts 10,000 More 'Lifesavers' on SD Streets Each Year

This year, South Dakota joins 34 other states that require high-school students be trained in hands-on CPR in order to graduate. (American Heart Association)
This year, South Dakota joins 34 other states that require high-school students be trained in hands-on CPR in order to graduate. (American Heart Association)
June 9, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota high schools are gearing up for the new CPR law effective July 1, and organizations are helping out with training kits. The new state law requires high-school students to receive hands-only CPR training in order to graduate.

So, the American Heart Association has given the South Dakota EMS Association a $30,000 grant for CPR training kits in schools. The EMS Association is also offering free training to school districts that need it.

The Association's president, Eric Van Dusen, says 10,000 more life-savers will be walking around the state each year because of this law.

"By having layperson rescuers out there - students, adults, anybody who knows CPR - it buys us precious, precious time in giving us an opportunity to have a patient to work with when we get there," he says.

Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States. CPR can double or triple a person's chance of survival - especially if performed immediately, according to the Heart Association.

South Dakota joins 34 other states that require students to take CPR training to graduate.

The AHA also notes 70 percent of cardiac arrests happen at home, meaning rescuers are likely to know the victim. Van Dusen says CPR training can help South Dakotans save someone close to them.

"I've seen it firsthand," he adds. "I had a student about a decade ago that we were in a school system doing some CPR. Before the end of the school year, she ended up doing CPR on her own mother and getting her pulses restored long enough for the ambulance service to get there and take over, and then transport to the hospital."

Van Dusen says his organization has been working to get this law passed since the 1980s. He hopes the new law will help people recognize the importance of emergency medical services as the "front door" to the health-care system.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - SD