A bill that would require Oklahoma school students to receive instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) prior to graduating from high school was transmitted Monday to Gov. Mary Fallin’s office.


House Bill 1378 by Rep. Emily Virgin and Sen. John Sparks, both D-Norman, cleared the House of Representatives and the Senate by wide margins.


The bill would place CPR training in the school curriculum and allow school districts to offer the training any time between grades 9 and 12. Students would receive “hands-on” training with a mannequin, to enable them to learn the psycho-motor skills necessary to perform CPR. In a related matter, students also would be taught the purpose of an automated external defibrillator.


The legislation would not establish CPR as a separate class or credit course, nor would it require students to become certified in CPR.


“What this measure would do is provide every high-school student in Oklahoma with a skill that just might save someone’s life someday,” Virgin said.


A dozen other states, including Texas and Arkansas, have similar laws.


According to the American Heart Association, nearly 424,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10.4 percent survive, most likely because they do not receive timely CPR. Administered immediately, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time, and can be caused by a heart attack, trauma, a substance overdose or drowning.


“The American Heart Association values the leadership of Representative Virgin on House Bill 1378,” said Naomi Amaha, Oklahoma Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. “Oklahoma is now poised to help create a generation of lifesavers. We applaud the Oklahoma Legislature for sending this important legislation to Governor Fallin and urge her to sign SB 1378.”