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CPR training now a graduation requirement for Kansas high school students

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - High schoolers across the state will have a new subject to study next year.

The Kansas Board of Education voted Tuesday making Kansas the 38th state to require CPR training in schools.

The American Heart Association estimates about 350,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital ever year in the United States

About 90-percent of those victims end up dying.

For 18-year-old Emma Baker, the issue hits close to home.

When Emma was 13 years old she was competing in a spelling bee in Buhler, when her life took an unexpected turn.

"There was a mom in the audience, and the principal of the middle school knew CPR, they recognized she was in medical distress and started CPR right away," said Cate Baker, Emma's mom.

Cate says her daughter went into sudden cardiac arrest.

"Emma received CPR for 45 minutes from three sets of people," said Cate Baker.

That is why the Baker family have been advocates for training and teaching people CPR.

So far this year, they say they've helped train about a 1,000 people.

Back in June, Emma spoke to the state board of education, pitching the idea of getting CPR adopted as part of the curriculum in Kansas high schools.

"I think it is important for people to see like CPR literally saved my life, otherwise I wouldn't be here," said Emma Baker.

On Tuesday, Emma's idea came to fruition.

"So, high school seniors or before graduation, they will be trained in CPR, so we are training the next generation of lifesavers, as a high school graduation requirement," said Angela Breer, Communications Director for the American Heart Association.

Breer says the AHA put forward $25,000 to get kits placed statewide in the state's seven regional service centers for schools to use.

"There are 10 mannequins in a kit, and there is a thing to inflate them, the idea is they can be used time and time again," said Breer.

Both Breer and the Baker family agree, the impact will be felt.

"I think that is really going to affect the lives of their families, especially because they can teach their families and then obviously more people learn CPR and it just saves more and more lives," said Emma Baker.

It is estimated that nearly 33,000 students will be trained in CPR across the state.

CPR is expected to be a part of the Kansas high school curriculum, beginning next school year.


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