By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

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Half of all states now require students to learn CPR before high school graduation.

Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, nearly 7,000 North Dakota students each year will graduate with CPR training under their belts, following a curriculum standards update recently adopted by the state’s Department of Public Instruction. The move makes North Dakota the 25th state to require CPR training for high school graduation.

“This is exciting news for the people of North Dakota, and I’m thrilled that we’re now halfway to the goal of ensuring all high school graduates are equipped to save a life,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said. “I look forward to the day when learning CPR in high school is the norm for all students, everywhere.”

About 326,000 Americans have an emergency medical services-assessed cardiac arrest outside of the hospital each year. Bystander CPR can increase a person’s chances of survival by two- to three-fold, yet fewer than half receive it, according to the AHA.

The other 24 states that have passed school CPR requirements include: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. More than 1.3 million students are being trained each year in these states.

New York is currently considering adding a CPR training requirement to its school curriculum that would take effect Oct. 7. A decision is expected this month.