The American Heart Association this week confirmed Illinois as the 27th state to adopt the AHA’s CPR in Schools program to provide lifesaving training to middle school and high school students.

With the addition of Illinois, states representing more than half of the U.S. population have now adopted programs with the AHA’s curriculum to teach students how to react to medical emergencies and administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

According to AHA statistics, about 38 people each hour have a cardiac arrest event while not in a hospital, and nine of 10 don’t survive. However, chances of survival can double or even triple if the victim receives CPR.

The Illinois State Legislature approved a bill in 2014 that required that secondary students receive “training on how to properly administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation,” beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. About 130,340 students should be trained each year.

The primary sponsor of the Illinois legislation was state Rep. Daniel J. Burke, D-Chicago, a long-time advocate of heart-focused efforts. The AHA in 2000 honored Rep. Burke for his work to promote the need for availability of automated external defibrillators throughout Illinois.

AHA officials this summer have worked with the Illinois Department of Education to develop guidance that made sure that the training met AHA policy directives.  With those refined guidelines, the AHA now certifies that the Illinois program satisfies the AHA standards for CPR training.

AHA offers its CPR in Schools Training Kit that can train 10 to 20 students in a session, with one kit capable of training hundreds of students over time.

With Illinois’ decision there are now 168,326,970 people in the 27 states that teach CPR as a graduation requirement compared to 143,529,476 in the 23 states that don’t offer the program, per U.S. Census Bureau 2014 estimates.