People are always asking do they need CPR recertification classes again when it comes time to get re-certified. The answer will depend on your knowledge levels and confidence in your own ability. Most people would benefit from attending at least one CPR refresher course not only because they may have forgotten important steps but also because things change. The CPR guidelines were given a massive overhaul in 2010 and the AHA who issues the guidelines is always conducting further research into methods of resuscitation.
When wondering how to get re-certified in CPR the first thing you need to do is check the validity of your CPR certificate. The American Heart Association issues their certificate for two years and until March 31 of this year the Red Cross issued theirs for one year. The American Red Cross now offers the option to certify for a two year period as well. Other organizations will apply different time scales so it is always best to check rather than make assumptions. Each providers process to re-certify may be slightly different too.
If you haven’t already taken the AED certification, it is a good time to add that to your existing skills. Research shows that a person’s who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest has the highest chance of survival if an automated external defibrillator is used as soon as possible after the event.
Defibrillators have been used for over forty years and the modern devices are very easy to use. They issue verbal instructions so the operator doesn’t have to diagnose any symptoms or make any medical related decisions. But although simple to use, you still need to be properly trained. You need to be certain that the victim has suffered a cardiac arrest because it is not safe
to deliver a shock to the heart of a patient who does not require it.
Some people are concerned about being sued if they use an AED on another person but in most states the Good Samaritan Act has been extended to include the use of automated external defibrillators.
A recent tragedy brought home just how important it is for us all to have access to an AED. A report in the Ottawa Citizen online newspaper told of two men one in his thirties and one in his fifties who both had a sudden cardiac arrest while playing hockey. The venue where the first man was playing didn’t have an AED on site. Members of the public are reported to have preformed CPR and the emergency services did everything they could but unfortunately the man died.
The other man in his fifties suffered his attack after a game of hockey at a different venue. He lived after being treated with an AED device prior to the emergency services arrival. The EMS team then took over his care. While there is no proof that the absence of an automated external defibrillator was the reason why the younger man could not be saved, the statistics show that the victims who are treated using defibrillators are more likely to survive.
While CPR is vital as it keeps the oxygen flowing around the major organs, it cannot shock the heart back to a natural rhythm. An abnormal rhythm is the primary cause of sudden cardiac arrest.
When you attend your CPR class either to take your certification for the first time or to re-certify ask for additional training in the use of an AED. You never know but it could help you save a life.