Gov. Pat Quinn today signed a bill requiring Illinois high school students to get trained on how to operate mobile defibrillators and to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The Democratic governor signed the bill at the annual meeting of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois in Normal. He is scheduled to be joined by members of a pair of suburban families that lobbied to get the bill passed.
The measure requires that all secondary schools in Illinois train students on how to properly administer CPR and how to use a defibrillator. The new law allows students to opt out of the training if their parents submit a written objection. The law will be effective for the 2014-2015 school year.
George Laman recommended the bill to lawmakers. His daughter Lauren collapsed and died at her high school drill team practice in 2008. A mobile defibrillator was available at the school but was not used until the paramedics arrived 13 minutes after the initial emergency call, according to Quinn's office.
In January, Eric Bell’s heart stopped due to a blockage in one of his arteries. His son Harry was able to correctly perform CPR on his father for 12 minutes until paramedics arrived on the scene. Harry, a junior at Fenwick High School, learned CPR during health class at the Catholic school in Oak Park.
“It is not often our high school students are faced with the opportunity to save a life,” Quinn said in a news release. “Should an emergency arise, we want our students ready to step in and take action. This common-sense law will make sure they are better prepared to help their classmates, teachers, family and friends in case of an emergency.”