heart healthThe American Heart Association (AHA) is backing a bill introduced in Congress this week by Representative Lois Capps (D-Calif.) that would fund CPR training in schools.

The Teaching Children to Save Lives Act of 2013 would authorize the Secretary of Education to award grants to local educational agencies and schools to implement nationally recognized cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training courses. The legislation also requires the Secretary of Education to report back to Congress within the first year on grant amounts and recipients, the use of the program funds, and the impact of the funds.

“The American Heart Association strongly supports Rep. Capps’ efforts to provide the resources necessary to train the next generation of lifesavers,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “By teaching schoolchildren how to deliver CPR and properly use an AED we are reaching a major portion of the American population, substantially increasing the likelihood that individuals suffering from sudden cardiac arrest will survive.”

The AHA says the legislation would complement the work that state governments are doing around the country. Currently, 10 states require students to be trained in CPR before graduation.

“The impact of such training is significant, according to the AHA. “Studies indicate that communities with comprehensive AED and CPR training programs have achieved survival rates of 40 percent or higher for victims of sudden cardiac arrest.”