Split Over CPR Training Mandate for IL Schools

While some are pursuing accountability over AED units and CPR training in schools, others are complaining about mandates as a whole. In a recent article by Mr. Jackson Adams of the Effingham Daily News, he’s uncovered a divide in perspective and perception over CPR/AED training mandates.

Some, like Jasper County Superintendent Dan Cox, seem willing to figure out opportunities to train students in his district. Others, like Superintendent Jeff Fritchnitch, are not thrilled about the idea, even indicating students can’t respond or, confusingly, are somehow going to be “(thrown) into a situation where they potentially have to make a life or death decision for another party.”

What makes Mr. Fritchnitch’s comments particularly confounding, especially in light of the fact that he is a “former EMT,” include:

  • Victims of sudden cardiac arrest are technically dead; treatment with an AED will only help the victim. You can’t make the victim “deader” than they already are and treating cardiac arrest isn’t a decision of “life or death.” It’s assuredly “death” if you do nothing and, possibly, “life” with action.
  • Providing training services isn’t a mandate to perform or act during an emergency, so its unreasonable to state that the students would be “thrown into a situation” and imply that they’ll suddenly replace first responders.
  • As I’m sure Mr. Frichnitch would attest from personal experience, there is a lasting effect to learning CPR. Learning CPR isn’t a one-time skill in which a student would have a finite window to help the public, after which their skills expire. Learning CPR and, particularly, recognizing the signs and symptoms of medical emergencies can last a lifetime. While the students in his district who (apparently) are unqualified to act today will become adults in the near future.
  • CPR classes offer much more than teaching breaths and compressions. Possibly the most important skill, statistically speaking, is to recognize SCA and to grab an AED. Without training, few students will even know what an AED is. With training, its possible that they’ll retrieve life-saving equipment. Oh, and Mr. Fritchnitch, AEDs are located in gyms, parks, airports, community buildings and elsewhere, not just schools. To think, possibly learning something practical that can be used outside of a scholastic environment; at one time that was the point of school in the first place….

Lastly, AED units and CPR training in schools do not just help students in need, but adults such as teachers, parents and others (superintendents?) visiting school campuses.

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