Many people are familiar with CPR as a concept. With the number of procedural cop and medical shows on TV, the lifesaving method of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is commonplace and easily recognizable. If you’re going to actually practice it in real life, however, there’s more to it than repeated chest compressions; you need to know where to press, how hard, and a variety of other details that they never mention on TV.

Taking CPR classes (either out of curiosity or to obtain your CPR certification) is a fast way to learn the basics. While CPR training courses vary (as a member of the general public, you’re not going to get the same lessons as a paramedic), they can be divided into three distinct categories.

  • Adult CPR classes: This class covers basic techniques for adults, teens, and children age eight and older. As the simplest form of CPR, it takes less than an hour to learn; this makes it ideal for those who just want to gain a basic understanding of the process should an emergency arise. If you have access to an automated external defibrillator (AED) at work or home, you usually can add the training for that device onto the course.
  • Pediatric CPR classes: Though the bodies are the same, just smaller, performing CPR on children under eight is extremely different. The techniques (such as proper airway clearance and chest compression ratios) are distinct from those used on adults. If you work with children — either at as a coach, teacher, or volunteer — you should definitely learn infant and child CPR.
  • Basic life support for healthcare providers: Any medical professional is required to take this class. It covers AED, ventilation devices, barriers to performing rescue breathing, and two-person CPR techniques; as such, it is the most advanced and comprehensive class available.

CPR can mean the difference between life and death for someone experiencing cardiac arrest. By maintaining the vital flow of blood to the brain and heart, you give someone extra time to make it to the hospital where further care can take place. Whether you need your CPR certification for your profession or you simply want to be prepared in the event of an emergency, the above classes can help you learn what you need to know.


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