TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than 350,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year in the United States. Of those, more than 7,000 are children.
The difference between life and death often comes down to how quickly a person receives CPR.
A bill approved by its first Senate committee in the State Capitol Tuesday would require all Floridas students to learn the life-saving procedure.
Ed Kosiec suffered sudden cardiac arrest in 2019 at a Boynton Beach fast food restaurant.
“There was only one person in the whole entire restaurant that knew CPR. It was a young high school girl cooking french fries in the kitchen,” said Kosiec.
He told lawmakers if it weren’t for her training and quick action, he’d likely not be here today.
“I was given a gift, a second chance in life,” said Kosiec.
Ed’s story isn’t unique.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. and sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for student-athletes.
“The doctor said he has a 50 percent chance of making it,” said Joe Cobb.
Cobb’s son also survived cardiac arrest thanks to CPR given by a friend.
“Every doctor and medical staff, when we walked in that room when we got there that morning, said he must have had good CPR. And thank goodness he did,” said Cobb.
Kosiec and Cobb joined other advocates in support of the legislation that would require CPR training to be taught to Florida students.
Currently, CPR training is encouraged, but not mandatory.
The bill requires one hour of CPR training in grades 9 and 11.
It would largely be up to schools to decide how to incorporate the training in the school year.
“So we tried to give them as much room. As long as somebody gets an hour of training in how to do CPR and administer it they will be a lifesaver coming out of their school,” said Senate Sponsor Dennis Baxley.
If passed, the bill would take effect July 1, in time for the first round of training to start in the fall.
Florida would join 38 other states that already require hands-on CPR training for high school graduation.