Maybe you got CPR certified a few years ago—or many years ago—and let your certification lapse. This can happen for many reasons—maybe your life just got too busy, or you stopped working in a profession that required certification. But even if that’s the case, revisiting your CPR knowledge is still an excellent idea. Here are a few reasons why you should update your skills, even if you’re no longer required to hold a certification.
Because the rules have changed.
Did you know that the structure of CPR has changed significantly? One of the biggest changes is that rescue breaths are no longer required. This reduces the risk of exposure to saliva-borne pathogens for both the giver and the receiver of CPR. It also makes the steps easier to remember—all you have to do is perform chest compressions. Other changes to the guidelines have taken place recently as well that are aimed at getting the process started faster and increasing the patient’s chances for survival. So if you do take a class, you’ll also get an update to your skills.
Because it’s easier now than ever to learn CPR.
A decade ago, the only way to get certified was to spend time in a classroom. Today, there are plenty of online CPR training programs that offer high-quality instruction based on AHA guidelines. Some of them include hands-on training components, and others are partially-online programs that include an in-person skills assessment. The Internet makes it easy to learn on your schedule, without the need to go to a classroom.
In addition, some cities and municipalities are investing in CPR training.
You can now find kiosks offering no-hands CPR training in airports, shopping malls, and other public places around the country. The training videos are often short—usually only a few minutes long—and the training could help you save lives. These kiosks may not result in recertification, but they could help you update your skills all the same.
Because employers appreciate it.
Getting recertified could open the door to a new job. Lots of employers either require or look highly on CPR certification outside of professions traditionally associated with it, such as lifeguards and the medical industry.
- Daycare providers
- Sports coaches
- Construction and industrial safety professionals
- Correctional officers
- Social workers
- Personal trainers
- Dentists and dental assistants
- Flight attendants
- Nannies and babysitters
Because you could save a life.
Over 383,000 people per year on average suffer sudden cardiac arrest when they’re nowhere near a hospital. These are often not visibly sick people—a large number of victims are not aware of having heart disease and may not have any of the risk factors. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere and to anyone.
It’s also usually fatal. Cardiac arrest interferes with the heart’s ability to pump oxygenated blood to the brain, and without oxygen, the brain’s cells begin to die within minutes. Often, by the time an ambulance arrives, the victim has suffered too much brain damage to survive.
Only about 8% of people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital live through it. If these victims receive CPR from a bystander immediately, their chances of survival can triple. However, according to the AHA, 70% of Americans do not feel comfortable providing CPR in an emergency situation. This is a widespread tragedy, as hands-only CPR is easy and fast to learn. Despite this, only 32% of cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander. African American populations are less likely to receive it than others.
If you update your skills in CPR—something that can only take minutes, depending on the program you choose—you’ll be one of the minority of people who could potentially save a life. If you’re ever in such a situation, you’ll be glad you have those skills.
Because the life you save could be someone you know.
Statistically speaking, if you ever do have to perform CPR on another person, it will be someone you know—most likely a loved one. That’s because 88% of cardiac arrests occur in the home.
It’s especially important to learn CPR if you live in a rural area without immediate access to emergency healthcare. If you know that the closest hospital or emergency care facility is more than about six minutes away by car, most likely an ambulance won’t be able to get to your home fast enough to save a victim of cardiac arrest. If that’s the case, the only chance for survival your loved one has could be you. CPR isn’t just a useful skill for medical personnel or the workplace—it’s also an important way to protect your family.
Because you could teach the skill to others
The best public outreach campaign in the world is no match for the persuasion of a friend or family member. Your new CPR knowledge doesn’t have to stop with you. CPR is as simple to teach as it is to learn, and once you know how, you could show the techniques to your children, spouse, friends, and family members. It’s easy to pass around a quick video demonstrating hands-only CPR, and you could do a lot to generate interest in the skill among people you know. The more CPR skills are known, the greater chance cardiac arrest victims all over the country could get the emergency care they need immediately, without having to wait for an ambulance.
CPR is quick and easy to learn, and it can make the difference between a tragic and a happy outcome in cases of cardiac arrest. You can get recertified, but you don’t have to take an in-depth CPR class in order to learn the basics of this lifesaving technique. A quick CPR demonstration video online can also give you the skills you need to save a life. And if you’re ever faced with such an emergency—especially if a friend or family member is involved—you’ll be very glad you took the time to update your skills.