Hands Only CPR will be Required by all SD High School Students

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill 140 today, making South Dakota the 36th state in the nation to require that every high school student in the state receive training in Hands Only CPR prior to graduation.

The new law adds more than 10,000 Hands-Only CPR-trained young adults to South Dakota communities each year by requiring that schools offer a 30-minute Hands-Only CPR training class within a required course at some point in the students’ high school career. Individual school districts maintain control over when the course is offered, keeping local control over curriculum decisions. In addition, the trainings are offered to schools at no charge through a partnership with the South Dakota Emergency Medical Services Association. Local EMS agencies have agreed to provide the trainings to school districts free of charge.

“Having a new generation of lifesavers in our communities will have an incredible ripple effect for years to come,” said Eric Van Dusen, President of the South Dakota Emergency Medical Services Association. “We know that young adults trained in CPR at school will save lives by knowing what to do during those precious few minutes after someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest.”

Nearly 424,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10.4 percent of them survive, most likely because they don’t receive timely CPR. Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Teaching students Hands-Only CPR in a rural state like South Dakota could save thousands of lives by filling our communities with young adults trained to give cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive.

“In addition to saving lives, this legislation will also give high school students the opportunity to have hands-on training and exposure to a career in healthcare and, possibly, on their local EMS agency. Our rural areas have a need for trained healthcare workers, and by exposing kids to Hands-Only CPR training, we are giving them an important glimpse into a potential career field,” said Van Dusen.

SB 140 unanimously passed the Senate last month and passed the House last week with a vote of 65-3. The bill was originally sponsored by 12 senators and 10 house members. Senator Larry Tidemann was the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate and Representative Jean Hunhoff was the lead sponsor of the bill in the House.