West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed legislation Wednesday requiring high school students to be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation before graduating.
Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, 17,600 students per year will graduate with CPR training under their belts.
West Virginia is the 21st state to pass CPR-for-graduation requirements.
Students in grades six through 12 will practice giving chest compressions every year in health class. Previously, the West Virginia Department of Education required instruction in CPR and first aid without the hands-on, psychomotor practice.
Less than half of the roughly 326,000 Americans who have a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital each year get CPR from a bystander and only about 10 percent survive.
With CPR training conducted in schools, there is a certainty that people will be trained each year.
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