In one of the final bill signings this legislative session, Gov. Scott Walker signed AB 545 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 390. The legislation requires mandatory cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training be taught in every health class offered to pupils in grades seven through 12. The requirement will be effective starting with the 2017-18 school year. The bill was introduced by Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) and Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) late last fall and passed both chambers with strong majorities.
The provision changes current law that mandated all public, charter and private schools to offer instruction in CPR to high school students. Act 390 makes this offering a mandatory requirement in any health class offered to pupils in grades seven through 12. Furthermore, the act requires students be instructed about the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
In testimony on the bills, supporters expressed that cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death and that mandatory CPR training will save lives. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) the legislation, once implemented, will add 58,000 CPR-trained students to the state each year. Furthermore, the AHA pledged $75,000 to support training and equipment to help schools implement the changes.
Numerous other groups offered testimony supporting the bills including the American Red Cross, many hospital and medical associations, several police and firefighter’s organizations, and cardiac arrest survivors.
With the signing, Wisconsin joins 27 other states that have passed similar requirements.