LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – It’s mandatory for many, from corrections officers to construction workers, linemen to lifeguards.

A Kentucky mother is raising awareness about CPR training and concern about a lack of trained specialists in schools.

Kelsey Durham is a mother of two children, ages two and three. Her husband carries a rare form of genetic cardiomyopathy. He’s had multiple heart attacks and a heart transplant. As her kids get closer to going to school, she’s worried they too could develop the disease, but may not have anyone around to get them help if something were to go wrong

“I almost lost my husband. Yeah, that was the scariest moment of my life,” Kelsey told FOX 56. “He lost consciousness went into cardiac arrest, didn’t have a pulse, he was diaphoretic, sweating, blue, foaming at the mouth, and I had to do CPR,” she said describing the moments she had to resuscitate him at a cabin. This was already after he’d had an ICD implanted and his condition became known.

As Kelsey started considering school for her kids she was surprised to find CPR training isn’t required for all school personnel.

“I think it’s a very simple class, it’s a simple task that I think everybody should know how to do,” she said. Part of her frustration with the issue is Kentucky’s requirement for high school students to receive CPR training in order to graduate. But Kentucky law only requires one adult present in a school to be certified in first aid, including CPR.

“I think it’s really scary because one person in a school building. I don’t know, I’ve not been in a lot of other schools – bigger schools, but even Casey County where I went to high school at, our high school, you didn’t have time – you wouldn’t have time if somebody went into cardiac arrest to find somebody,” she said

Kelsey wants that to change. Right now, only 18 states in some form mandate CPR training for school personnel, according to data from the National CPR Foundation. Kentucky State Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) chairs the Senate Education Committee and sponsored the 2016 bill introducing the CPR requirement for students. It doesn’t require the training be provided by a certified instructor

“The training was for local school districts to take care of with their local EMS so we didn’t want to put any burdensome mandate,” Wise told FOX 56.

Not every district limits itself to what the law requires, but even a larger district like Fayette County Public Schools only requires two CPR-trained staff per building. Jane Lynch, an instructor for CPR of Lexington, said the training is not intensive.

“You allow 4 hours for the class but the DVD is about an hour and 20 minutes – view and do. So really between an hour and a half -two hours, you’re in and out,” Lynch told FOX 56.

“You’ve got to know what to do, time is absolutely precious. You do not have time to wait to find somebody who knows what to do,” Kelsey said.

FOX 56 reached out multiple times to the Kentucky Department of Education to get their perspective on this issue and did not receive a response. Kelsey said she has reached out to lawmakers who have said they’re willing to take a look. For now, she’s building grassroots support and encourages people that feel passionate about the issue to contact their local lawmaker or school district.

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