Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Sun Sentinel.
During these challenging times for the public’s health, there is one bright spot. The Florida Legislature recently passed a new law that will significantly improve public health and safety. The new Florida law, which took effect July 1, 2021, provides for mandatory CPR training for all ninth- and 11th-graders in all public schools.
As the founder of the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, and an attorney who actively litigates cases across the country dealing with liability issues involving cardiac arrest in a variety of public settings, I had the honor of working with organizations and legislators during the legislative session in order to educate lawmakers on the importance of getting this law passed. This new law requires school districts to provide one hour of “basic training in first aid, including CPR” to all such students. Under the law, school districts are also “encouraged” to begin giving basic first-aid and CPR training to students in grades six and eight.
According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, almost 400,000 individuals per year in the United States suffer from sudden cardiac arrest. Add to that number close to 10,000 children who annually suffer sudden cardiac arrest. So often this is from an undiagnosed underlying heart abnormality.
Medical studies show that the use of CPR and the concurrent use of an automatic external defibrillator (which are also required in all public schools in Florida) increase the likelihood of survival by 90% if performed within three to five minutes of the onset of the cardiac event. To put it all in perspective, during a subcommittee meeting, cardiac arrest survivor Edward Kosiec recounted to legislators going into sudden cardiac arrest in 2019 in a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Boynton Beach in 2019. A high school senior, who worked at the restaurant, administered CPR, ultimately saving his life. Mr. Kosiec’s powerful testimony helped to underscore the real-life importance of creating a vast body of “CPR soldiers” that would be able to respond to a person in cardiac distress.
I am honored that I was able to join many others in helping to get this public safety measure through the Florida Legislature. I hope that our high schoolers will never have to use their new training. But if they do, I am sure they will be ready.
For me, it means that we can do more to save lives. For more information, you can visit the website for the charity I founded, which provides free AEDs and CPR training to youth sports organizations, called Heart of the Game at heartgame.org.
West Palm Beach-based attorney Craig Goldenfarb has been in the legal field in Palm Beach County for over 25 years.