On February 8, 2008, Lauren Laman was in the gym at St. Charles North High School practicing with the rest of her dance team when she went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). While an AED was available, it was not used, and while CPR was eventually administered, it was not sufficient. By the time EMS arrived it was too late, and Lauren died. Lauren was a senior at St. Charles North, with plans to major in dance at Northern Illinois University following her upcoming graduation.
In an effort to prevent future tragedies and to build a legacy for Lauren and for all who have lost their lives unnecessarily to SCA, Lauren’s parents, George and Mary, and her brother Matthew have begun a campaign to ensure that all Illinois high-school students are trained in CPR and AED use prior to graduation via House Bill 3724.
Introduced by Rep. Dan Burke, HB 3724 would undoubtedly help save lives in Illinois for generations to come. Cardiac arrest strikes approximately 424,000 Americans every year. For those who do not receive bystander CPR and/or AED assistance, the survival rate is just 10.4%. For those who do receive timely bystander CPR and/or AED assistance, the survival rate can rise above 50%.
It’s worth noting that schools would not need to provide traditional and time-consuming CPR and AED full certification course, but instead could provide a one-time, easy to teach, easy to learn 30-minute or less CPR and AED training course which includes a psychomotor-skill component – practice on a CPR mannequin. In fact, many Illinois schools already teach similar CPR and AED training coursed during PE, health, or other appropriate classes, and thus would already be in compliance with this new requirement.
School not already providing their students CPR and AED training could follow the implementation model being used successfully in many of the 12 states which already have CPR and AED training requirements. In this model, schools partner with local Fire and EMS services, hospitals, health education programs (i.e. college programs in nursing, EMS, etc.) to secure the loan of CPR mannequins and AED training modules. The training itself can be done via a video, via instructor (i.e. a local EMT or nurse), or even by a teacher who had previously received CPR and AED training, along with practice on CPR mannequins. Schools unable to find local partners could seek private grant funding or community financing in the rare event that local Fire/EMS partners are unable to help.