In a life-threatening situation like a cardiac arrest or a drowning incident, performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and knowing basic first aid is vital. The moment the heart stops, it is a race against time to prevent further injury or fatality. Many put off taking a CPR class as it feels like it's not necessary to take a first aid class. Or maybe that they don't have the time to manage the class alongside their daily life. However, emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere.
Having more people certified in performing effective CPR means living in a safer world. We are able to reduce the impact cardiac arrests have on the world. Instructor-led CPR classes ensure that you know exactly what to do in an emergency. By taking a class you can have someone else's back, whilst knowing that someone else has yours.
A CPR course is one of the shorter and more basic medical classes that anyone can do. In fact, it is specially designed for the general public, with healthcare providers taking the more specialist BLS course. The training differs between different class types but all classes teach students the necessary steps for practicing effective CPR to the American Heart Association guidelines. You can also get additional training on how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to maximize your first aid knowledge if you opt for a First Aid/CPR/AED certification course. The class will demonstrate how using an AED alongside chest compression increase the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest by a dramatic amount.
You will also find that there are different classes under the umbrella term of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. There are classes for CPR-A which supplies knowledge on adult bodies only, plus how to use an AED. Then there are CPR-C classes which are full CPR with an adult, child, and infant skills, as well as the additional use of AED. They are differentiated as children and infants have more fragile, developing bodies in comparison to adults, therefore, needing a slightly different approach in resuscitation.
Across the United States, there is a wide variety of CPR certifications from both the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. In the Washington DC area, there are multiple courses available, with a wide range of options in what kind of class you take. For example, AHA offers their Heartsaver First Aid/CPR/AED class in Washington DC several days a week. Taking a CPR training class near you has never been so easy and accessible.
You can opt for an in-person class, being taught in a classroom setting with an instructor who then also leads you through scenarios and hands-on skills sessions. The AHA doesn't have a specific minimum age for students taking their CPR certification, as anyone from age 8 to 14 can possess the strength to perform CPR correctly, but it is important to check with your specific class whether they accredit teens.
You can also take a free online CPR class, where you learn all the procedures independently. These online classes are incredibly useful for people wanting complete flexibility and freedom to learn. You can gain certification easily through online courses however you may need to complete in-person training to be recognized as fully certified by employers.
If you are completing a course for your job then you may prefer to take advantage of Simulation Learning courses such as what the Red Cross offers. They combine an online element of coursework with in-person training. This blended learning approach retains the flexibility of an online class with instructor-led skills sessions. This way you can be certain that your training actually translates to real-life situations!
Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death worldwide - every minute without CPR the probability of survival in a sudden cardiac arrest reduces by 7-10%! If widespread CPR training and certification were mandatory then sudden cardiac arrest may not have such a high fatality rate. The necessity of proper treatment as soon as possible in these situations is evident, a bystander with the right training and skills has the potential to save a life.
For aspiring healthcare professionals, the importance of knowing CPR training is evident. They form the foundation of future medical treatment and certification is necessary to go into higher education for medical degrees. Many go on to become students in BLS (basic life support) training, CNA (certified nurse assistant) certification, and Healthcare ALS and PALS courses. Your first CPR training course can be the beginning of your healthcare career.
That being said, classes are also important for a multitude of professions, not just healthcare professionals such as doctors. When working in child-care or teaching, having up-to-date knowledge of first aid, CPR and AED can be a core job requirement. Taking the time to acquire certification and brush up on your CPR skills is a great career move, ensuring you have all the training you can.