Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and when people are properly trained to perform CPR, a victim’s survival rate can double, or even triple. According to the American Heart Association, when an adult has sudden cardiac arrest, his or her survival depends greatly on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby, but less than a third of those people get that help.

With the start of the 2014-2015 school year, CPR training is now required for all high school graduates in Texas. This new legislation follows many other states implementing similar CPR laws, including: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Students are now required to complete a 30-minute session at school with the help of the CPR in Schools Training Kit, a DVD designed by the American Heart Association. Students will learn how to give Hands-Only CPR by practicing on a manikin while watching skills performed correctly during the session. This session must be completed by all high school students prior to graduation.

Many people may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR properly, or their training has significantly lapsed. It’s especially important for young adults to learn how to perform CPR as 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home, meaning the life you save with CPR is most likely to be someone you love.

The American Heart Association trains more than 12 million people in CPR annually, equipping Americans with the skills necessary to perform bystander CPR. Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, and as a cardiologist, I see every day how important it is that everyone be educated on this lifesaving skill. To sign up for a CPR classes in your area, please visit the American Heart Association.

Roger Belbel, M.D., is a cardiologist at Las Palmas Medical Center.