CPR Certification – You Don’t Really Need It, Do You?

In starting a company whose mission is to offer free CPR training to the world, I often find myself in the position of introducing my company to a new acquaintance. And by doing this over the past decade, I’ve found that people have a variety of different perceptions about CPR certification and its role. I have also found that many of these perceptions are wrong.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at a recent interaction I had with someone at a tech conference in San Francisco. When I explained to this person what I do for a living, he made a comment about how she was CPR certified years ago. “I should really get a recertification, though,” says my new friend. “I heard that CPR has changed and I don’t know what to do if I need to perform CPR on someone now. You shouldn’t be breathing anymore, right?”

Conversations like this are not unusual in my experience, but they give us important insights into what went wrong with the CPR certification industry. On a related note, most experts will agree that there is a problem with CPR awareness and readiness for bystanders to respond in an emergency. According to the American Heart Association, the percentage of people who feel powerless to act in a heart emergency can be as high as 70%.

So what’s wrong with my friend’s answer? A lot of things. The first problem is the perception that recertification of CPR is necessary to perform CPR. Put simply, it isn’t. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of CPR certification, but it is not necessary to perform CPR on someone. You simply need to know what to do. In fact, if you call 911, the supervisor will do their best to explain how you can initiate CPR on the victim even if you have never been trained in CPR before.

If CPR certification is not required, then you may be wondering, what role does it play? People in certain jobs (such as doctors, nurses, teachers, etc.) need to be CPR certified to respond to workplace emergencies. These individuals must formally demonstrate that they have received training in CPR and are competent to perform it as part of their job duties if necessary, hence the need for certification. In the past, however, CPR certification was the only way for people to learn CPR, even if it wasn’t a job requirement for them. In recent years, free online CPR training has made the need for certification far less important for lay rescuers who do not need to demonstrate competence to an employer or state department and simply want to know how to respond in the event of a emergency.Chicago CPR Classes

The next thing that worries me about this person’s response is the claim that CPR has changed in the past few years and that they wouldn’t know what to do. You could stop me here and insist that CPR has changed recently. After all, the 2010 guidelines changed some number sequences and the order of the ABCs, among other things. While this may be true, it is important to remember that these are simply guidelines based on the latest science for the best chance of survival. Basically, CPR is a technique that aims to buy time for the victim until advanced life support arrives. Not knowing the latest number sequences is no reason to feel unfit for CPR. Doing something is better than doing nothing. An unintended result of certifying people in CPR, communicating the importance of specific number sequences, and testing people on these numbers has been to overcomplicate CPR to the point where people feel they are unable to perform CPR. CPR on someone in need.

This fear of performing CPR brings me to the last point, which is the idea that rescue breaths are no longer part of CPR. Recognizing that CPR was considered too complicated, major organizations have been promoting hands-on CPR in recent years. While this serves to simplify the skill of CPR and is intended to encourage more people to get involved and try something, it has instead led to the misconception that CPR training many people receive is now outdated or ineffective. In short, it has only caused more confusion about how to respond in an emergency

So, is there a simple solution to clearing up the misconceptions regarding CPR certification? Share this article and the free CPR training it supports and you can help realize that solution.