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CPR Guidelines for American Heart Association and American Red Cross

CPR Guidelines for American Heart Association and American Red Cross

In 2010 the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross (ARC) adopted new CPR guidelines.  This article examines the similarities and differences between both organizations’ CPR guidelines.


ADULT CPR

What follows is my paraphrasing of the AHA and ARC’s Adult CPR guidelines.  They are meant as a point of comparison for this article, not to be taken as either organizations’ stated guidelines.  Visit the AHA and ARC websites or buy their course manuals to compare their nomenclature and exact guidelines.

American Heart Association

1)    Make sure the scene is safe before approaching the victim.

2)    Check to see if the person responds by tapping the victim and shouting, “Are you OK?

3)    If the person doesn’t respond, get help.  Have you and someone else call 911 and get an AED (automated external defibrillator) if available.

4)    Check for breathing.  The breathing should be normal, not gasping.  If the person is not breathing or only gasping, they need CPR.

5)    Begin CPR with 30 chest compressions.  Push down at least 2 inches.  The rate of compressions is at least 100 compressions a minute.  After each compression let the chest come back up to its normal position.

6)    Open the airway with a head tilt-chin lift and give 2 breaths.

7)    Continue giving 30 compression and 2 breaths until the person starts to respond, you are too exhausted to continue, the scene becomes unsafe, an AED arrives or EMS (Emergency Medical Services) arrives.

American Red Cross

1)    Make sure the scene is safe before approaching the victim.

2)    Check to see if the person responds by tapping the victim and shouting, “Are you OK?”

3)    If the person doesn’t respond, get help.  Have you and someone else call 911 and get an AED (automated external defibrillator) if available.

4)    Check for breathing by performing a head tilt-chin lift.  Look, listen and feel for breathing for no more than 10 seconds.  Occasional gasps are not breathing.

5)    Quickly scan for severe bleeding.

6)    Begin CPR with 30 chest compressions.  Push down at least 2 inches for an adult.  The rate of compressions is at least 100 compressions a minute.  After each compression let the chest come back up to its normal position.

7)    Open the airway with a head tilt-chin lift and give 2 breaths.

8)    Continue giving 30 compression and 2 breaths until you find an obvious sign of life, you are too exhausted to continue, the scene becomes unsafe, an AED arrives or EMS (Emergency Medical Services) arrives.

Differences: The primary difference is how breathing is assessed.  The AHA has eliminated, “look, listen and feel for breathing” from its guidelines.  The responder checks for breathing, but how this is done is not specifically stated.  The ARC still instructs, “look, listen and feel” for breathing.

The ARC continues to include the step of quickly scanning for severe bleeding after checking for breathing.  The AHA does not include this step.


INFANT AND CHILD CPR

Rather than include a list of both organizations’ sequences for infant and child CPR, I’m only going to discuss the differences in their guidelines.

1) The AHA follows the CAB (compressions, airway, breathing) sequence for infants and children who don’t respond and aren’t breathing normally.  CPR always begins with chest compressions no matter who the victim is and whether you witnessed their collapse or not.

The ARC takes a different approach if you did not witness the infant or child collapse: if there is no response and breathing is not normal, give 2 rescue breathes.  Then scan for bleeding.  If the victim still isn’t breathing normally, begin CPR with the CAB sequence.

However, if you witnessed the child or infant collapse you would use the CAB sequence – the 2 initial rescue breaths are not given.

2) The AHA has also eliminated “look, listen, and feel” for breathing in the assessment for infants and children.  The ARC still uses this approach as part of their guidelines for infants and children.

Article Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

How to Recognize and Respond to a Heart Attack

The most common signal of a heart attack is persistent chest pain that lasts more than 5 minutes.  This pain can come and go, and if untreated can last for several hours.  Some people describe this chest pain as pressure, aching, tightness or squeezing.  A friend told me his heart attack felt “like an elephant stepping on my chest.”

While persistent chest pain is the primary indicator of a heart attack, there are a wide variety of signals.  Some people feel discomfort in other parts of the upper body such as the shoulder, neck, arm, jaw, stomach or back.  Trouble breathing is another signal, often experienced as faster breathing, noisy breathing and feeling short of breath.  Some people become pale or ashen in their face.  Others begin sweating heavily, become lightheaded, disoriented, and vomit.

Because the signals can vary, it’s not uncommon for a person who has previously had a heart attack to not realize they are having another one.  However, since a heart attack can be life threatening, be proactive in getting help.  Any unexplained pain in the upper body that persists should be taken seriously.

If the chest or upper body pain disappears and doesn’t come back, this may be a sign of angina.  Angina is a temporary blockage of blood to the heart through an artery.  This may be a signal of heart disease and is worth a visit to your doctor.


Responding to a Heart Attack

Many people do not know the signals of a heart attack and will deny they are having one. They will claim they are experiencing bad indigestion, heartburn, muscle spasms or muscle soreness.  Almost half of all people experiencing a heart attack wait two hours or more before seeking medical help.  Most people who die of a heart attack die within two hours of experiencing their first signals.

If you think someone is having a heart attack, the most important thing you can do is to get help.  Call 911 or the emergency number appropriate to you.  The priority is to get professionals with their equipment and drugs to get to the victim as soon as possible.  Do not drive the victim to the hospital yourself – their condition could quickly change for the worse.

Have the person rest comfortably.  Sitting is often the most comfortable position.  Loosen any tight clothing, especially clothing that constricts breathing.

Ask the person if they have a history of heart disease.  If they have a prescribed medication for chest pain associated with heart disease, assist them in taking it.

Aspirin helps slow blood clotting, which can help to keep blood flowing through a coronary artery during a heart attack.  If the person is not allergic to aspirin, isn’t taking blood thinners like Coumadin, and hasn’t been told by their doctor not to take aspirin, give them 2 to 4 chewable baby aspirins (81 mg each) or one adult aspirin (325 mg) with a small amount of water.   Do not offer them Tylenol or anti-inflamatory drugs such as Motrin, Aleve, Advil or ibuprofen.

Monitor the person’s condition and notice any changes in behavior or appearance.  Information that you can provide to the responding emergency medical personnel may be helpful.  If you know CPR, be prepared to do it.  If an AED (automated external defibrillator) is available, bring it to where the victim is, and be prepared to use it if necessary.


About the Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

Choosing the Right CPR Class For New Parents in the San Francisco Bay Area

Choosing the Right CPR Class for New Parents in the San Francisco Bay Area

If you’re pregnant or recently given birth, you’re well aware that baby safety involves learning many new skills. One of those skills is how to do infant and child CPR. You may be asking yourself who teaches CPR classes in the Bay Area and which class is the right one for me? What follows is a guide for finding and choosing the right CPR class for new and expecting parents in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Finding The Right Class

As a new parent learning CPR, your focus should be on finding the best class. Many CPR classes offer a certification card, but this is usually irrelevant for new parents. Most people who get a CPR certification need to fulfill a requirement for their job or a government regulatory agency. Because a class offers a certification in CPR, doesn’t mean the class has better content than a non-certification class.

There are several parenting centers and hospitals around the Bay Area offering infant and child CPR classes as well as baby products and other helpful classes for expecting and new parents. Most of these classes will not certify you in CPR. California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, DayOne (several locations) and Birthways in Berkeley are a few of the best, but there are several more.

If you don’t need to be CPR certified there are instructors who can customize a class to focus on the safety topics important to you. For example, you may want to learn infant and child CPR and respond to choking emergencies (which should always be part of a CPR class), but also want to learn how to respond to allergic reactions and treat wounds. It can be worth the effort to find an instructor that will teach you the class you want. Many of these instructors will travel to your home or business or set up a private class for you at their facility. Most require a minimum number of students to have a class, often six people. Some do not require a minimum, including my company, In Home CPR, Sonoma Health in Santa Rosa, and CPR Education in Walnut Creek.


CPR Certifications

Many of the CPR classes offered in the Bay Area also come with a certification. If you decide you want to be CPR certified, the two best-known organizations offering certification classes are the American Red Cross (ARC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). Both organizations’ CPR certifications are valid for two years and cover how to respond to choking emergencies.

The ARC offers community CPR classes at their training centers, with many locations throughout the Bay Area. The ARC is divided into two offices serving the Bay Area: ARC Bay Area (cities north of Santa Clara county) and ARC Silicon Valley. Visit the ARC website to find a list of current classes and locations. The ARC breaks their classes into infant, child and adult CPR. Infants are defined as one year and younger; children are from one year to puberty.

The American Heart Association has relationships with private companies who teach their Bay Area CPR classes. The easiest way to find a class is to use Google or visit the AHA website and use their “class connector”. AHA CPR classes teach adult, child and infant CPR; they do not specifically focus on infants and children.

I also recommend taking a pediatric first aid course. The AHA has a comprehensive course designed for childcare workers, but it’s all material a parent should know. It covers topics such as bleeding, asthma, allergic reactions, seizers, drowning, burns, bites and stings, sprains and broken bones, and choking emergencies.


Article Author

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  He also teaches custom classes, especially for new parents.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco and CPR Class San Mateo.

Hands-Only CPR

Hands-Only CPR

I’m frequently asked if giving breaths has been eliminated from CPR now that the CPR guidelines have been updated.  The simple answer is no, the breaths are still instructed in traditional CPR classes.  However, there has been a big push, especially by the American Heart Association, to teach a version of CPR without breaths.  This approach is often called “Hands-Only CPR”.

In short, Hands-Only CPR is fast, deep compressions on a victim’s chest.  If someone doesn’t respond to your efforts to wake them, and their breathing is irregular or they aren’t breathing, you push straight down on an adult’s chest at least 2 inches at a rate of at least 100 compressions a minute.  This is a skill you need to practice with an instructor on a manikin, so I’m not going to go into further detail on how to perform this skill.

Hands-Only CPR has many advantages over traditional CPR: it’s simple to do, it reduces the risk of disease transmission while doing CPR, and research shows it’s as effective or more effective when used appropriately.

Hands-Only CPR is an acceptable approach when you witness an adult suddenly collapse.  The victim still has several minutes of oxygen in their blood because they were breathing moments before they collapsed.  The goal of Hands-Only CPR is to circulate that oxygenated blood throughout their body.  By continually compressing their chest you are causing their heart to contract, thus pumping blood to the brain and heart.  Those compressions will buy the victim valuable minutes until emergency medical personnel arrive.

However, Hands-Only CPR isn’t always the best approach.  If the victim has become unconscious and isn’t breathing normally because of an airway emergency, they need CPR with breaths.  Asthma, severe allergies, choking, drowning and suffocation are all examples of airway emergencies that can lead to a victim who is unconscious and not breathing normally.  Because these victims are lacking oxygen, they need rescue breaths, along with chest compressions.

Frequently, victims of airway emergencies are children and infants.  Infant and children should always receive rescue breaths during CPR.  Thus, every parent who takes a CPR class should learn to do CPR with breaths.  Unless a CPR class says it’s a hand-only class, all American Red Cross and American Heart Association CPR classes will teach you how to give rescue breaths along with compressions.

About The Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

Infant and Child Choking Hazards: Foods and Objects

Infant and Child Choking Hazards: Foods and Objects

In the United States about 3,000 people choke to death each year.  However, infants and children account for most of those deaths.  Approximately 80 percent of all emergency calls for choking are for victims under six years old, with many of the victims being two years old or younger.

These are scary statistics for any parent.  It’s important to remember that infants and children have small airways, a natural curiosity about putting objects in their mouths, and their chewing is often incomplete.

What follows is my subjective list of foods and objects that pose a choking risk for infants and children.  I’ve included my thoughts about some of the items.  The list comes from many pediatric association recommendations and years of parents telling me their choking emergency stories.  If you think I’ve left something off this list, please let me know.

 

Food

Hot dogs – those canned bite-sized hot dogs are too big.

Hard candy – hard candy also poses the risk of splintering and aspirating the lungs even if the candy is dislodged.

Whole grapes – cut them in halves or quarters!

Popcorn – Some of the kernels are only partially popped.

Other foods: Chewing gum; gummy bears and other gummy candies; marshmallows; peanut butter; nuts and seeds; dried fruit; raisins; raw fruits and vegetables; whole, firm beans or peas; cherries with pits; meat and meat bones; stringy foods like celery, steak and spaghetti; potato skin, chicken skin, and fruit peels; potato or corn chips; granola bars; cheese chunks.

Objects

Coins – Every study I’ve read has listed coins as the number one non-food object that results in emergency calls for choking for infants and children.

Other objects: Buttons, paper clips, marbles, deflated balloons, jewelry, watch batteries, ball point pen caps, arts and crafts supplies, rocks, detachable parts from small toys.

Remember, kids will put anything in their mouths.  So if it’s small, keep it out of their hands if you’re not there to supervise.

Responding to a Choking Emergency

Many people don’t realize that the easiest way to learn to respond to a choking emergency is to take a CPR class.  Both American Red Cross and American Heart Association CPR classes teach the current recommended responses to choking emergencies.

In these classes, you’ll learn how to use back blows and abdominal thrusts (also called the Heimlich Maneuver) depending on the age and size of the child.  These techniques are very effective, but it’s important you learn them from a certified instructor.

About The Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  He also teaches custom class, especially for new parents.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

Choking Emergency: The Heimlich Maneuver or Back Blows

Choking Emergency: The Heimlich Maneuver or Back Blows

If you take a CPR course from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association you will find the content to be nearly identical.  However, the two organizations have noticeably different recommendations on how to respond to a child or adult who is conscious and choking.  What follows is a brief history of the recommended responses to conscious choking – a history that has been filled with controversy since 1974.

When first aid courses began being taught to the public, the conventional response to a choking victim was to give them a “back blow” or “back slap”.  As early as 1933 the American Red Cross was recommending this method.  You can see an example of traditional back slaps in the film, “Field of Dreams” when Burt Lancaster’s character, a doctor from the 1920s, saves a choking child.

In 1974 everything changed.  Dr. Henry Heimlich, who developed the Heimlich maneuver, often called abdominal thrusts in safety classes, published an article about the maneuver.  By 1976 both the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross had incorporated abdominal thrusts.  Responders were told to give back blows, but if back blows failed to dislodge the object, give abdominal thrusts.

Heimlich wrote in the New York Times that back blows would cause an object to get lodged into the windpipe.  This has never been proven scientifically.  He also called back blows, “death blows.”

In 1986, both organizations stopped recommending back blows.  Abdominal thrusts became the only recommended response for conscious choking for children and adults.

Controversy and criticism of Dr. Heimlich began to emerge, much of it via his son Peter.  Peter Heimlich has a website devoted to exposing his father as “a spectacular con man and serial liar.”   Dr. Heimlich is accused of secretly funding a study in 1982 that persuaded the American Heart Association to drop back blows from its recommended responses to choking.

Nevertheless, abdominal thrusts remained the only recommended response to conscious choking for children and adults for twenty years.

In 2006, the American Red Cross reintroduced back blows as the initial response to choking.  The approach is called, “five and five.”  If five back blows are unsuccessful in clearing the airway, then five abdominal thrusts are used.  The rescuer alternates between sets of back blows and abdominal thrusts until the object is cleared.   However, the American Heart Association has not reintroduced back blows.  They continue to recommend abdominal thrusts as the only response to conscious choking for children and adults.

 

About The Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

CPR Certification Classes: Choosing The Right One

CPR Certification Classes: Choosing the Right One

You’ve learned you need a CPR certification. However, you aren’t sure which one you need. And you don’t know if a certification from the American Heart Association, American Red Cross or another organization is the right choice. If you are frustrated, that is understandable — choosing the right CPR certification class can be very confusing!

Here are the four questions to ask yourself to ensure that you sign up for the right CPR certification class:

  1. Which CPR certification do I need: standard or healthcare provider?
  2. Do I need an AED certification as well?
  3. Does my CPR certification need to focus on infants and children?
  4. Should I choose the American Heart Association or American Red Cross?

Which CPR Certification Do I Need?

Most people need a standard CPR certification, often called CPR for the layperson. Professions that usually fall into this category are:

Healthcare providers are required to take a more advanced CPR class. Professions that usually need a healthcare provider CPR certification are:

Do I Need An AED Certification As Well?

Check to see if you also need to be certified to use an AED. AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator – a mobile defibrillator designed for the public to use. Most CPR classes include training on how to use an AED, but not all of them.  All American Heart Association CPR classes include AED training.

Do I Need An Infant And Child CPR Certification?

Some people need their CPR certification to focus on infants and children, such as foster parents or daycare workers. The American Red Cross can be very helpful for addressing this because they break their CPR classes into pediatric and adult components.  If you take an American Heart Association course it will include infant, child and adult CPR training.

Should I Choose The American Heart Association Or American Red Cross?

There are many organizations that will certify you in CPR, but usually the two preferred organizations are the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross (ARC). Some employers or regulatory organizations will also accept a certification from the American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI). If you are required to get a CPR certification, ask whomever requires it if they prefer a certification from the AHA or ARC. Some accept one, but not the other.

American Heart Association

This is the current list of CPR classes for the American Heart Association:

American Red Cross

American Red Cross breaks their classes into pediatric and adult components, which can be helpful and confusing. For example, they offer infant and child CPR as a single class called pediatric CPR.  This class may not include AED training.  Adult CPR may be taught as its own class. Classes with infant, child and adult CPR taught together are also offered.

The ARC healthcare provider course is called, “CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers.” Some healthcare employers, especially hospitals, do not accept this course to satisfy their requirements. Of course, check with your employer first.

Before you sign up for an ARC CPR class be sure you know exactly what components the class is covering.

Blended Learning

The American Heart Association now offers blended learning courses.  You take a portion of the course on-line, then make an appointment with an AHA training site to test your CPR skills to receive your CPR certification.  The on-line portion is roughly two hours and the in-person skills test takes about one hour.

If you have searched for a CPR class on the Internet, you’ve probably seen ads for on-line only CPR classes costing $19.95. Stay away from these! These are not AHA or ARC courses.  Most employers are not going to accept an on-line only course. And they shouldn’t. You need to practice the skills used to save a life, rather than only reading about the skills.

Signing Up For A Class

The AHA and ARC have upcoming classes listed on their websites: AHA classes; ARC classes. If you can’t find a class at the time and location you want, try a privately owned training company that can certify you with the AHA and ARC. Another option is to hire a private company to come to your home or business to teach an AHA or ARC class. These classes offer flexibility in scheduling and can often be less expensive for large groups.

About The Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

How To Treat Burns

How to Treat Burns

Most burns are not medical emergencies and can be treated easily. Burns that cause the skin to be red, painful and swell are called superficial burns. Usually they are caused by heat, such as fire, steam, hot surfaces or a hot liquid.

The treatment for superficial burns caused by heat:

1) Stop the burning! Get the person away from the source of the burn.

2) Use plenty of cold running water to help control pain.

3) Cover the burn loosely with sterile dressing. This is not like bandaging for bleeding – keep it loose.

Most of the time, it’s that simple. But sometimes a burn is more severe.

Call 911 or get to a hospital immediately for these conditions:

1) Skin that is burned to a brown or black color or if the tissue underneath appears to be white.

2) Burns to the airway. Burns around the mouth or nose can be very serious. It may be accompanied by trouble breathing.

3) Burns from electricity and explosions. These types of burns carry additional risks such as airway and cardiac damage.

For chemical burns, run an excessive amount of water over the burned area. The idea is to flush the chemical off the skin. However, if you have any doubt about your ability to treat a chemical burn, call 911 or seek professional medical help immediately.

Burns that cause open weeping blisters can be treated at home if the burned area is very small. The general rule is that if the burn is bigger than a quarter on a child and bigger than a silver dollar on an adult, seek medical help.

Additional considerations for burns:

About The Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

Diabetic Emergency: Recognizing and Responding

Diabetic Emergency: Recognizing and Responding

Responding to a diabetic emergency is not complicated, however, diabetic emergencies can be deadly if untreated. Fortunately, most diabetics are well informed about their disease and know when and how to take action. For example, a good friend of mine who is diabetic was directing me in a play rehearsal when she suddenly started slurring her words. She then blurted out, “Get me juice!” Luckily, some was available and within seconds of drinking it her condition started to improve.

If you suspect someone is having a diabetic emergency, ask the person if you can help them. Ask if they are diabetic and whether they are having a diabetic emergency. Most diabetics will tell you what they need. If they are unable to communicate with you, but conscious, check to see if they have a medical alert tag. These tags can tell you if the person is diabetic.

Once you have established that the person is having a diabetic emergency, have them consume something with sugar in it, preferably in liquid form. Juice, soda, or water mixed with sugar are good choices. Do not give them diet soda – this has no sugar. If no liquid form of sugar is available, candy is a good choice.

Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar – is frequently the cause of diabetic emergencies. Giving a hypoglycemic diabetic sugar will usually improve their condition quickly. Do not worry about giving sugar to a diabetic who is suffering from high sugar levels — called hyperglycemia. Giving a hyperglycemic diabetic sugar will not make their condition worse.

After a diabetic consumes sugar, their condition should improve quickly. If their condition doesn’t improve within five minutes, call 911.

If a diabetic person becomes unconscious do not try to put food or liquid in their mouth. Call 911. If you know CPR, check for breathing and take the appropriate steps with the conditions you find.

I recommend that everyone take an American Red Cross or American Heart Association CPR class, but if you live or work with a diabetic, you should know how to perform CPR.

About The Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

American Red Cross or American Heart Association CPR Certification: Which One Should You Get?

American Red Cross or American Heart Association CPR Certification: Which One Should You Get?

I’m a certified instructor for the American Red Cross (ARC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). It’s simplistic to say that either the ARC or the AHA has the “better” CPR classes.  In fact, starting in 2011 many of the big differences between the organization’s courses disappeared when the ARC shortened their courses.  Still, there are differences in price and employer acceptance; hence, depending of what your objective is, one organization’s CPR class may be a better fit for you than the other’s. What follows is a brief summary of the similarities and differences between ARC and AHA CPR classes so you can make an informed decision before enrolling.

Certification Length

For a standard CPR certification, sometimes referred to as CPR for the layperson, the obvious choice used to be the AHA. Their certifications are good for two years, while the ARC always had a one-year certification. That changed on January 1, 2011 when the ARC began giving two-year CPR certifications as well.

Healthcare providers are required to take a more advanced CPR course. Both the AHA’s “Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers” (often just called “BLS”) and the ARC’s “CPR for the Professional Rescuer” are good for two years.

Class Length

In 2011, the ARC updated their courses and made some big changes.  In the past, the ARC’s courses were significantly longer than the corresponding AHA courses, and this drove many people to the AHA courses.  Now the ARC and AHA courses are about the same length.

Price

In general, AHA courses are slightly less expensive than the ARC’s. However, AHA prices can vary significantly since private companies primarily teach them.

Students are required to buy an AHA course manual ahead of time – and they cost between $10 to $15. Some companies teaching AHA courses include the manual in their course price and some don’t. Find out if the manual is included. If the AHA course manual isn’t included, it can make a big difference on the bottom line.

The ARC includes an excellent skills reference guide with the class price.  The ARC course manual is not included in the course price, but I recommend buying it (about $10) if you want to read in depth about the skills you’ve learned.

Certification Acceptance

If you need a CPR certification, ask whomever is requiring it if they prefer an AHA or ARC certification. Many employers and agencies accept one, but not both.

For healthcare providers, the AHA BLS class is frequently the desired certification by employers. In the San Francisco Bay Area, all of the dental societies I’ve been in contact with only accept AHA’s BLS class. And that appears to be the case with several hospitals as well. But again, ask whoever is requiring the healthcare provider certification which organization they prefer.

About The Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.