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Over 10 years ago, Capistrano Valley High School photography teacher Wendy McElfish was required to get her CPR certification in order to become a teacher. Years later in 2012, she found one of her sons, unresponsive and blue.

When this tragedy struck, she had forgotten most of everything she had learned about CPR. Luckily, her neighbor knew CPR and saved him.

In California it is required that public school teachers complete CPR training for their teaching credential. Once the training is done, teachers are not required to renew that training. In the case of McElfish and her son, renewing CPR training could be vital in saving her son’s life.

“Renewing my CPR certificate, like many other things in life, never crossed my mind, unless I was required to do it. Teachers are required every few years to renew their credential in order to stay in the classroom. Why is updating their CPR certification not a part of this requirement?” McElfish said on her petition to try to change policies to get teachers to renew their CPR certification when they renew their teaching credential.

CPR certification expires after two years and as of March 2017 teachers do not need to renew it, according to CPR training service, Sure Fire CPR.

“Every two years CPR cards must be renewed, because one of the things that childcare centers have to be very aware of is they have to have certification done by someone who is EMSA certified, which is California Emergency Medical Services Authority,” Angela Lopez, the director of the Child Development Center on campus said.

The phrase CPR is very common and for most people, they know the basics of it. With repeated pressing on the chest area to try to revive an unconscious person. But, not everyone is aware that there is a specific technique when CPR is done.

CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and is an “emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating,” according to the CPR section on

18 states have mandatory CPR training for teachers in one way or another which leaves over half the U.S. left without training. So far, three more states have introduced bills for CPR training.

In states such as California and Indiana to get a teaching certificate, a potential teacher must be certified in CPR and First Aid. However, in Colorado, only one teacher is required to be CPR certified in the school. In Iowa and Vermont only P.E. and health teachers are required to be certified.

“I do agree with the policy that has the states require CPR for particular types of activities because they do increase stress levels in the body, which could potentially cause someone to have a health issue. I think it’s a good idea, the more people you have trained, the safer the environment is,” Lopez said.

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