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A push for CPR in schools

— When an 11-year-old Colonie Little League player was struck in the chest by a baseball Monday, April 16, his heart stopped. He survived, and early administration of CPR could have been partially to thank.

“Everyone did what they were supposed to on Monday to put the chain of survival into effect, calling 911 and starting CPR on the young man,” said Michael Dailey, regional EMS medical director and associate professor of emergency medicine at Albany Medical Center.

Dailey works closely with Colonie EMS and volunteers with the American Heart Association. He said he’s seen plenty of instances where CPR saves lives, which is why he thinks making CPR instruction a mandated part of the high school curriculum would be invaluable.

“High school kids are smart … and this is a skill that’s incredibly easy to learn, doesn’t take a lot of time and in terms of being a mandate on the school, is really something that pays forward,” said Dailey.

CPR in Schools is a campaign that calls for every high school student in New York to learn CPR and American Heart Association volunteers will lobby at the state Capitol on Wednesday, May 2, to urge the legislature to pass the bill.

“(We) talked to numerous lawmakers trying to tell them how easy it is for schools to incorporate this,” said Julie Hart, advocacy director at the American Heart Association.

Hart said people tend to balk when they hear “mandate” because they automatically assume it will come at a cost, but she said with what CPR in Schools calls for, that’s not necessarily the case.

“There’s a concern with cost and when you hear mandates you think of recurring cost but you can do this in schools without recurring costs,” said Hart.

The reason the program wouldn’t put undue burden on school districts and taxpayers is because it’s such a quick skill to teach.

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