SPRINGFIELD – Both public and private schools across Illinois will now implement cardiac response plans following the passage of a bill carried by Senator Erica Harriss. The legislation, signed into law on Monday, aims to prepare schools for cardiac emergencies.

“There is no predicting when a cardiac emergency might occur,” said Senator Harriss (56th-Glen Carbon). “Having plans in place and individuals trained to perform life-saving measures can make a critical difference.”

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House Bill 5394 requires school boards to provide school personnel with information and hands-on cardiac emergency response training. This training includes hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of the school's automated external defibrillator (AED).

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“According to the American Heart Association, thousands of students under 18 have experienced cardiac arrest,” said Senator Harriss. “Statistics show that without prompt response or training, nearly 90% of these incidents can be fatal. This bill is about saving lives and offering parents peace of mind when dropping their children off at school.”

Additionally, school boards are required to review procedures and emergency plans annually. School districts will also be eligible for a matching grant covering 50% of the costs for first aid certification.

The bill passed both chambers unanimously and was signed into law on July 1, 2024, with an effective date of January 1, 2025.

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