English, algebra ... and CPR?

Should all secondary school students learn CPR? That’s what an American Heart Assn. advisory argued Monday.

Included in the ideal curriculum: how to recognize an emergency, how to deliver chest compressions, how to use automated external defibrillators -- and plenty of (simulated) opportunity to practice the skills.

It’s unclear how many schools are listening, though. Although 36 states have laws “encouraging” such training, the advisory says, it appears CPR has yet to be embraced as part of the standard collective lesson plan.

It would be worth it, the authors say: Training all those students would add a million civilian emergency responders to the rosters every few years.


Some have questioned whether bystanders ultimately do more harm than good, but studies have indicated that CPR is nearly always worth a shot.

The Mayo Clinic even provides some handy instructions for untrained people, or for those whose training is a little rusty.

Here’s something more to consider: Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ intern Daniel Hernandez had limited training in first aid and triage, according to NPR, and his quick action may have helped her survive. Here’s his first-person account.