Having a CPR certification is an essential skill that can allow you to act when action is most needed.
According to some CPR statistics, as much as 70% of Americans don’t know what to do in the event of a cardiac arrest, lowering the chances of survival significantly. Even though 65% of people in the US state that they’ve received some CPR training, only 18% of them hold certifications that are up to date.
Given that about 1000 people in the US experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting every day, it’s clear that better CPR education is needed.
In this article, we’re going over acquiring and the importance of rectifying your CPR certification, which groups of people should pay more attention to this, and the best way you can go about it.
CPR Certification: Where to Get It and When to Renew It
For many Americans, CPR certification can happen within the workplace. Depending on your profession, your employer may require you to undergo CPR, first aid, and BLS training. This is especially true for medical professionals, healthcare workers, first responders, and lifeguards.
Many of these positions also offer regular, often yearly, renewal courses for their employees, given that they may face more heart attacks, cardiac arrests, accidents, or injuries than others. If you’re not part of these career paths, however, you can take a few different steps.
Firstly, in order to acquire a CPR certificate, you’ll need to sign up for a CPR certification program. You can find such programs at your local Red Cross and similar organizations. You can also look online for CPR training centers. Keep in mind that the center you choose has to be approved and evaluated for your certification to be valid.
A lot of training facilities may offer both in-person and online CPR certification. Even though online CPR may be more convenient, in-person classes are always the best way to learn. CPR is all about direct contact, and having that hands-on experience can make all the difference in a highly stressful situation.
Once you acquire your CPR certification, it will be valid for 2 years. After that time, you will be required to renew it. For first aid, the certifications can last up to 3 years.
Main Reasons for Rectifying Your CPR Certification
Rectifying your CPR certification has several benefits to both you and any people you may potentially be in a position to help.
The specifics of CPR and its effectiveness are tightly connected to the development and evolution of modern science and medicine. Since the practice is tightly connected to these fields, staying up to date is crucial.
CPR was first introduced in the late 1700s and has since then undergone a plethora of updates and vital changes. Most recently, we saw rescue breathing being excluded from the practice, recommended to be used in certain situations only.
Keeping in mind that CPR only works well when performed properly, receiving new information like this is one of the reasons why rectifying your CPR certification is so important.
Unless you’re a medical professional, EMT, or have another career that requires you to perform CPR frequently, chances are you will not have to do it very often. Many people, even though certified, have never actually been in a situation where CPR was needed.
Because of this, it’s natural for your CPR skills and memory to start to deteriorate.
A refresher course can remind you of everything you need to know and can help you retain the information better. This is especially true if you opt for in-person rectification training, as you will get that hands-on experience to help you develop muscle memory for the procedure.
Readiness to Act
Being a prepared lay rescuer is important.
In remote or densely-populated areas, emergency services can take 10 to 15 minutes to reach a patient. However, every second that the body is left without proper oxygenation can lead to organ failure, brain damage, and death.
Acting quickly and correctly is key in emergency situations, so having CPR come naturally to you can truly be life-saving. By getting a CPR refresher course regularly, you may find yourself more confident to help when needed and be quicker to act.
Professions and Roles That Need an Updated CPR Certification
Even though everyone should know how to perform CPR, some groups of people, whether because of their job or their role, can benefit more from having a renewed certificate.
Individuals employed in nurseries, kindergartens, or those that work as babysitters are a critical group that has to hold renewed CPR certifications. Furthermore, it’s best when they receive training both for regular CPR and CPR that focuses on pediatrics.
There are differences between the two, and even though performing regular CPR on a child can help, it can also lead to further injuries that may worsen the child’s condition. For individuals that work with babies and very young children, infant CPR is the best certification to get.
We’d also like to include summer camp workers in this category, as their job description puts them in charge of children for prolonged periods of time. Aside from CPR, camp employees should also receive training on dealing with different injuries, insect bites, and more.
Parents and Teachers
More than 7,000 children have experienced an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Given that children are always in the care of an adult, whether at school or home, having that adult be ready to act is detrimental to a child’s chance of survival. Because of this, parents and teachers should always hold a CPR certificate and renew it every two years.
This is also true for parents of teens and teachers working in middle and high schools. Statistics show that cardiac arrest and cardiac death in children often happen between the ages of 10 and 19, although it can affect children of all ages.
Individuals working in nursing homes can benefit from holding a CPR certificate and renewing it regularly. Older people are more likely to develop heart disease, which in turn, can cause a cardiac arrest episode, so being ready to act is crucial.
In nursing homes, there are rules in place that require a CPR-trained staff member to always be present within the building. Furthermore, nursing homes aren’t allowed to enforce a no-CPR rule within the facility. The only time when CPR is not to be given during a cardiac arrest episode is when a resident has a DNR on file.
Individuals who are caregivers to sickly relatives or the elderly within their homes should also be trained in CPR. Aside from this training, these individuals can also own an AED device, which furthers the need for a valid and updated CPR certification.
Medical Professionals and Emergency Responders
Medical professionals, especially those working in hospitals or as part of emergency response teams, are definitely required to hold a CPR certificate and have it renewed regularly.
Most of the time, these healthcare workers receive both certification and refresher courses through their employers.
Aside from them, individuals employed as emergency responders, whether in a firefighting brigade, a lifeguard position, a school nurse, or another similar position, also need proper and regular CPR training.
Most cardiac arrest cases within the younger population happen during sports activities. Furthermore, there is a higher chance of injury during these activities.
Depending on the sport, people are at risk of drowning, broken bones, tendon injuries, head trauma, and more. To cover everything, coaches, personal trainers, and other fitness employees need to have updated CPR, first aid, and BLS training with a specific overview of the nature of the sport they’re involved in.
Renewing CPR Certification: Final Thoughts
Whether you’re someone that works within the fields we discussed or not, receiving CPR certification should be something you plan on doing.
In the US, the number of cardiac arrests that happen outside of a hospital setting is far greater than the number of cardiac arrests that do, often making lay rescuers the first line of aid.
Knowing what to do if you witness a cardiac arrest taking place can often double the chances of survival. Furthermore, immediate use of an AED can also help a person avoid permanent organ damage, securing quicker recovery.
Even if you’re confident in your skills, a refresher course can help you reinforce that confidence while keeping you up-to-date with the latest developments, making you the lay rescuers many Americans who have experienced cardiac arrest didn’t have access to.