In 2013, the Legislature passed
HB 1556 to create initiatives
in high schools “to save lives in the event of cardiac arrest.”
Every school district that operates a high school must offer
instruction in CPR to students. Beginning in the 2013-14 school
year, instruction in CPR must be included in at least one health
class necessary for graduation.
OSPI, in consultation with school districts and stakeholder groups, must
develop guidance for a medical emergency response and automated external
defibrillator (AED) program for high schools. This response and program must
comply with current evidence-based guidance from the American Heart Association
or another national science organization. OSPI will work with the Department of
Health to assist districts in carrying out these programs and provide guidelines
and advice for seeking grants for the purchase of the AEDs. OSPI may coordinate
with local health districts or other organizations in seeking grants and
donations for this purpose.
There are specific requirements outlined in RCW 28A.240:
- Every school district that operates a high school must offer instruction in CPR to students.
- Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, instruction in CPR
must be included in at least one health class necessary for
- The instructional program must be developed by the American
Heart Association, American Red Cross or a nationally recognized
program based on the most current national evidence-based
emergency cardiovascular care guidelines for CPR/AED.
- Instruction must include appropriate use of an AED, which
may be taught by video.
- Instruction must incorporate hands-on practice in addition
to cognitive learning.
School districts may offer CPR instruction directly or may arrange for instruction by community-based providers. CPR/AED instructors are not required to be certified teachers. Instructors may be from the fire or police department, etc. Certificated teachers providing CPRIAED instruction are not required to be certified trainers of CPR/AED.
No, students are not required to earn CPR/AED certification to successfully complete the instruction.
Each district will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the implementation and compliance of the legislated instructional requirements for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillation (AED) instruction in high schools and guidelines for emergency medical response (EMR) and AED program implementation.
Students who have successfully completed the health course are not expected to add CPR/AED instruction. The requirement is for school districts to incorporate CPR/AED instruction in health courses beginning in the 2013-14 school year. The student must take health education for high school graduation requirements. The high school graduation statute is
High school graduation requirements for health and pysical education include .5 credit in health and 1.5 credits in physical education.
Minimum requirements for graduation are outlined in
Yes. The law specifically states “in one health class.” CPR/AED instruction is found in the
Washington K-12 Health and Physical Education State Learning Standards under grade level expectation (GLE) 2.4.2: Evaluates emergency situations, ways to prevent injuries, and demonstrates skills to respond appropriately and safely. Chooses and demonstrates first-aid procedures that are appropriate for basic life support and automated external defibrillation (AED), caring for bone and joint emergencies, caring for cold and heat injuries, and responding to medical emergencies.
Rebecca Cavanaugh, Interim Health Services Supervisor, (360) 725-6040,
Marissa Rathbone, Health and Physical Education Specialist, (360) 725-4977,
American Heart Association (AHA)
- Risk Management AED Manual and Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Information Sheet
- Nick of Time Foundation – NoTF has done great work with trainings at their school screenings.
- American Red Cross Trainings
- Local EMS or Fire Departments – If a school is not already
familiar with their local EMS or Fire, they could likely reach
out to the state/county health department to find contacts. The
Washington State Council of Fire Fighters is very supportive and
would undoubtedly connect a school with their local department.
- Local Hospitals - especially public hospital districts
looking to expand their community benefit impact.
Over the course of the school year AHA and OSPI would like to collect success stories. As schools begin implementation, please share with Marissa Rathbone, Health and Physical Education Specialist, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 725-4977.