Have you ever asked yourself if you need to take a CPR training course? If not, then you probably should. Only between 3-5% of the entire population in the United States is trained annually in how to respond in a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) emergency with CPR. With an average of 360,000 SCA events occurring outside of the hospital every year, the likelihood exists that you may encounter someone who needs CPR.
But why should you take the time to actually attend a CPR certification class? Isn’t CPR exactly as it’s portrayed on prime time shows, movies, and other media? You may be surprised to learn correct CPR is much more than just chest compressions and giving mouth-to-mouth. Here are four simple reasons to spend a few hours and learn the skills you need to help save a life of someone who needs CPR.
Lifesaving – Knowing how to correctly perform CPR in an emergency can increase the patient’s chance of survival. The American Heart Association lists five links that comprise the cardiac chain of survival for someone who is in cardiac arrest. According to the AHA, the first three links include:
- Early identification of a patient in cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system,
- Early, high-quality CPR, and
- Rapid defibrillation with an AED
The best part about the cardiac chain of survival is that anyone who is properly trained to respond can perform the tasks associated with the first three links of the chain – or the majority of the duties needed to promote a successful resuscitation of a person in cardiac arrest.
Successful outcomes for victims of cardiac arrest are increased when an automated external defibrillator, or AED, is used in the first few minutes after a person has collapsed. Your accredited CPR class will also teach you the simple steps of using an AED to deliver a controlled shock to a victim’s heart and help it restart a normal rhythm.
Learning the steps of CPR and how to use an AED aren’t the only pieces of a CPR training course. Instructors will educate students on the techniques used to relieve severe choking in victims should their airway become blocked. Airway emergencies like this are the leading cause of death among children and infants, so your class will ensure you are trained in how to respond.
As you can see, there’s no need to be a doctor, nurse, paramedic, or even a lifeguard – you can be trained and ready to respond after taking an accredited CPR class.
Assisting – Work, home, school, church, or at the ballpark. You never know when someone nearby may need the lifesaving skills of CPR. Being properly trained to assist in an emergency is an important part of helping others. Studies show that individuals trained in CPR are much more likely to lend-a-hand (or two) to assist in an emergency
An emergency that occurs in a public setting oftentimes garners the attention of anyone nearby, especially those trained to respond with CPR. If other rescuers have started CPR and you’re trained, you can assist. Teamwork is always better when providing help in an emergency. The more people trained to provide CPR and use an AED, the better the chance of survival for the victim. Your CPR training course will help teach you how to switch out roles, assign important duties like calling 9-1-1, and perform other tasks important during an emergency.
Will I be legally protected if something happens while I’m performing CPR? All 50 states and the District of Columbia have Good Samaritan Laws on the books, affording you protection under the law should you choose to assist in an emergency. Check with your state to learn more about the laws in your area.
Working – Being certified in CPR can give you a leg-up when applying for jobs. Many jobs, such as those in healthcare, construction, industry, and education, require applicants and employees to have and maintain a current CPR certification. The Occupational Health & Safety Administration, or OSHA, mandates CPR training for certain positions in a variety of fields to promote life safety.
When you stop and think about it, shouldn’t everyone be trained in CPR? More and more employers are discovering the benefits of providing CPR training courses for their staff as a way to better prepare their workplace should an emergency occur. Ask your workplace if they have a CPR training class coming up. If not, encourage them to schedule one.
Learning CPR is appropriate for anyone who has the ability to understand the concepts and practice the hands-on skills during the class. More and more young people are seeking CPR training to better prepare them for summer jobs like lifeguarding, babysitting, and camp counseling.
Peace of Mind – Knowing CPR gives you and your loved ones peace of mind no matter where you are. Whether on a ski trip in the mountains or enjoying time together at the beach, having the knowledge to save a life brings reassurance and confidence.
Statistics show that 4 out of 5 sudden cardiac arrests that occur outside of the hospital happen in the home – the place we eat, sleep, and spend time with family. Thinking through the simple steps of CPR you learned in class will help you mentally prepare to act if a real emergency occurs.
Knowledge is power, and you will have the power to help someone in an emergency by delivering high-quality CPR and using an AED once you become CPR certified. Keeping up with changes in CPR, maintaining your skills, and renewing your CPR certification every two years will help provide peace of mind no matter what stage of life you’re in.