By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Oregon has become the 23rd state to require students to learn CPR before high school graduation. Gov. Kate Brown signed the new state legislation Wednesday.

Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, Oregon students in grades 7 through 12 will receive CPR training and learn how to use an automated external defibrillator in P.E. or health class. The new law will ultimately equip about 35,000 graduates each year with the lifesaving skill.

“The potential impact of 35,000 trained graduates every year is incredible and will be felt immediately in communities across the state,” said cardiologist Robert Quintos, M.D., a member of the American Heart Association’s Oregon board of directors.

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.

Oregon joins 22 other states that have passed school CPR requirements: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.