A new subject has been added to the graduation requirements for Hillsborough County students: hands-on CPR.

The school board voted on Tuesday to require high school students to learn hands-on cardio pulmonary resuscitation for graduation.

According to the American Heart Association, Florida was the first state to introduce statewide CPR in Schools legislation. But while Florida took the first step, it has not followed the path of 34 other states that have adopted the education requirement statewide.

In just one hour of a student’s four-year high school career, this CPR training can provide the skills needed to help save lives, and it requires no certification. Seventy percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes. So odds are high that if students are called on to act, they’ll be saving the life of a loved one.

Only 46% of people who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest get the immediate help they need before first responders arrive, and less than 10% of victims survive. Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Teaching CPR in schools will empower students to act in a cardiac emergency, giving victims the immediate help they need to survive until emergency medical services arrive.

CPR trainings have been a part of the curriculum since 2013, but the new policy creates a program that ensures an estimated 13,000 people trained each year.

Community CPR education and training is one of the American Heart Association Tampa Bay’s priorities. The American Heart Associated offers free resources to private schools and faith-based organizations. To receive a kit, please call 727-563-8006.