Senator Jim Alesi (R-Perinton) has had to perform CPR twice in his life, and this was one reason he feels so strongly about making basic CPR and AED training a required part of public school education.
"It amazes me how few people know what to do in a situation like this," he said.
Alesi has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by 29 others in both parties, that would include CPR and AED training curriculum for high-schoolers, which could be incorporated into health or physical education classes.
As a first step in leading by example, Alesi and his staff took their own certification class at the Penfield Community Center on March 2.
As the legislation is reviewed by the Senate Education Committee, it may face opposition since this measure may be seen as another unfunded mandate that could create a burden for school districts.
However, Alesi explained, the cost of providing training would only average $100-200 per school for the necessary training materials, and would provide the opportunity to partner with volunteer ambulance and emergency response organizations in the community.
In 2010, the American Heart Association revised its CPR guidelines to place a greater emphasis on chest compressions — also known as the "hands-only" method. The AHA reports that performing such CPR on an adult who suffers from cardiac arrest more than doubles their chances of survival.
Alesi said that by educating youth in lifesaving methods will improve the long-term quality of life for residents.
"The main theory behind this legislation is that you can take a generation of people who become competent in basic CPR," said Alesi. "We'll be able to save lives with this."