Illinois House of Representatives passes landmark legislation to save lives

Illinois House of Representatives passes landmark legislation to save lives

American Heart Association applauds House passage of bill to ensure schools throughout Illinois have plans in place to administer CPR to those in cardiac arrest

SPRINGFIELD, IL, April 19, 2024 —In a bold move to save lives, the Illinois legislature is moving toward passage of a landmark bill. Sponsored by Rep. Laura Faver Dias, HB5394 mandates that schools throughout the state have plans in place to respond to cardiac arrests of students or staff with CPR and AEDs. Such plans are known as cardiac emergency response plans or CERPs. Much like fire drills, these plans allow schools to assume responsibility and facilitate training for cardiac emergencies. In 2022, according to Illinois Heart Rescue, cardiac arrests affected more than 109 people under age 18 in the state. Currently, only about 40% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) get the immediate help that they need before emergency services arrive.

In an emotional testimony during the bill’s hearing, cardiac arrest survivor and school principal Dr. Heather Baker recalled, “I dropped dead on the floor at school as a school administrator at the age of 28. I had zero pre-existing conditions or warning signs and dropped dead mid-sentence in a meeting with several other administrators. I am alive today because my coworkers had been CPR and AED trained one month prior, and they knew how to enact a cardiac emergency response.”

According to Rep. Faver Dias, “This legislation will save lives. A coordinated plan to provide CPR to those in cardiac arrest in our schools ensures that our kids and educators are safe while they focus on learning. We've worked closely with school principals, cardiac arrest survivors, physicians and public health advocates to make this happen and this is a win for all our communities."

Part of a wave of similar legislation throughout the Midwest, this latest vote is a movement towards greater education and awareness about the need for CPR training. From Michigan to Kentucky, Kansas and Illinois, the Association is proud to work directly with schools, advocates and legislators to safeguard young people and educators.

According to American Heart Association Senior Regional Lead for Government Relations, Lauren Peters, “We’re excited for this bill to move on to the Senate and then be signed by the Governor. With the passage of HB5394, more than 20% of our state population that walks through the doors of thousands of schools each day – including students, teachers, administrators and support staff – will be equipped to act in a cardiac emergency. They’ll also have the knowledge that if they ever find themselves in need of help, no matter where they turn, they’re in good hands.”

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About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year -  we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments as we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

 

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