Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director
If you suffer sudden cardiac arrest, your best chance at survival is receiving bystander CPR until EMTs arrive. But most do not. That’s a reality that’s about to change in Oregon.
On May 28th, Senate Bill 79, a bill that would require all Oregon students to be trained in CPR before graduation successfully passed out of the Oregon House of Representatives. This milestone marked the last vote for the “CPR in Schools” legislation, and continued the bill’s track record of broad support. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown where it will await her signature.
SB 79 is a major victory for Oregonians. It will help create 45,000 new lifesavers a year by ensuring every student learns the simple, life-saving skill of CPR. This is important because each year, nearly 424,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and only 10.4% of these victims survive. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen any place, at any time—4 out of 5 in the U.S. happen at home.
However, CPR is easy to learn and simple. After calling 9-1-1, push hard and fast in the center of the chest at 100 beats per minute. When a CPR-trained bystander is near, they can double, even triple these victims’ survival rates by giving victims the help they need until the EMTs arrive.
The success of the bill is due to dozens of dedicated advocates who spoke up by meeting with legislators, testified in the State Capitol, and shared their expertise and stories. It is also due to the hundreds of Oregonians who signed letters to legislators, calling for action.
A special thanks to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Joanne Hatch, Chief Mike Duyck, Piseth Pich, Valley Catholic Middle School, Herb Lommen, Raoul Meekcoms, Jennifer Stafford, Legacy Health, Josh Moore, Kaylee Nelson, Clackamas Fire District #1, William Conway, Tamara Owen, Dr. Minot Cleveland, Dr. Robert Quintos, Jim Balsiger, Julien Comardelle, Andrew Gable, South Salem High School, Kathy August, Ali Massey, Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue, Jay Woods, Dr. Erin Burnham, Sandi Mackey and Tina Kaufman. Without the advocacy of these special volunteers, we couldn’t have done it.
Oregon joins 20 other states who have already passed CPR in Schools legislation.