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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a bill that will require cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator training for students in all Illinois high schools.
The governor was joined by the Laman and Bell families and the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois at their annual meeting in Normal to sign the measure.
“It is not often our high school students are faced with the opportunity to save a life,” Quinn said.
“Should an emergency arise, we want our students ready to step in and take action. This common-sense law will make sure they are better prepared to help their classmates, teachers, family and friends in case of an emergency.”
House Bill 3724, sponsored by state Rep. Daniel Burke (D-Chicago) and state Sen. John Mulroe (D-Chicago), requires that all secondary schools in Illinois train students on how to properly administer CPR and how to use an AED.
The new law allows students to opt out of the training if their parents submit a written objection. The law will be effective for the 2014-15 school year.
The bill was recommended by George Laman, whose daughter Lauren collapsed and died at her high school drill team practice in 2008. An AED was available at the school, but was not used until the paramedics arrived 13 minutes after the initial emergency call.
Because George Laman is a paramedic, he realized there was a need for training in CPR and AED usage in high schools across Illinois. In January, Eric Bell’s heart stopped due to a blockage in one of his arteries.
His son, Harry, was able to correctly perform CPR on his father for 12 minutes, until paramedics arrived on the scene. Harry, a junior at Fenwick High School, learned CPR during health class at the Catholic school in Oak Park.
Eric believes he would not be alive today if it weren’t for Harry’s quick reaction and previous training of CPR.
“We’d like to recognize the bill sponsors for helping make Illinois a safer place to live, and Governor Quinn for his long commitment to public safety in this state,” Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois President Pat Devaney said.
“I would like to thank the Laman family for its remarkable efforts and its tireless work for House Bill 3724,” Burke said. “The loss of their daughter, Lauren, is what precipitated their efforts.
“It is important for people to know that this woman’s legacy is now law, and kids will be trained in these areas and could potentially save thousands of lives in the future.”
“There are AEDs in schools now, but people need to know how to use them before they are effective,” Mulroe said. “These tools and the CPR and AED training are lifesaving measures that our young people will be able to use the rest of their lives.”