Schools across the state will be better prepared for cardiac emergencies under a new law that mandates the implementation of cardiac response plans.

According to the American Heart Association, thousands of students under 18 have experienced cardiac arrest. Statistics show that without prompt response or training, nearly 90% of these incidents can be fatal. This newly signed law seeks to have a plan in place and individuals trained to perform life-saving measures.

House Bill 5394 requires Illinois schools to implement cardiac response plans and provide school personnel with information and hands-on cardiac emergency response training. This training includes hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using the school’s automated external defibrillator (AED).

Under the new law, school boards must 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, was signed into law on July 1, 2024, and will take effect January 1, 2025.

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