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Maryland Students Now Required To Learn CPR

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Along with learning the ABCs, Maryland students are now required to learn CPR. The governor just signed a new bill, paving the way for the life-saving lesson.

As Gigi Barnett reports, this movement could spread across the country.

In addition to teaching reading and arithmetic, Maryland instructors will soon have to teach CPR. A new law inked this month by Governor O’Malley now requires students to take a 30-minute course before graduation.

“I actually don’t remember anything,” said Breanna Sudana.

But Sudana will never forget her teammates and coaches at Perry Hall High School, who saved her life when she collapsed during a field hockey match.

“A bunch of my friends were texting me and telling me a whole bunch of stuff,” she said. “I had some messages that I had a seizure, I had a stroke. And then after I read that out, I asked my mom and she said, `No, you went into cardiac arrest.'”

“CPR is a very basic skill,” said Michealine Fedder.

Fedder is a spokewoman for the Maryland branch of the American Heart Association. She says, three years ago, the organization created a program to teach teens the life-saving lesson. It’s a type of CPR called “Hands Only” and teachers don’t have to be certified.

“They just have to know how to teach the children where to place their hands. And they use a piece of music that the kids are all familiar with called `Staying Alive’ and use that rhythm. So it’s easy for the kids to do it,” Fedder said.

“This will save like 1,400 lives a year,” said Delegate Catherine Pugh.

Pugh backed the bill, which allows students to learn CPR in P.E. classes.

“People have heart attacks and folks don’t know what to do. Now our young people will know what to do,” she said.

The law goes into effect on Oct. 1, so students can begin taking the class this fall. It becomes a graduation requirement starting for ninth- graders in 2015.

Maryland is the 13th state to pass the law requiring schools to teach CPR.

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