In this blog we’ll break down everything you need to know about recertifying your CPR certificate. This article aims to draw your attention to the fact that CPR certificates have an expiration date, meaning that people need to get recertified regularly. Getting recertified and taking occasional refresher CPR courses is extremely important to ensure that you haven’t forgotten how to provide quality CPR since the last time you performed it.
If you weren’t aware that you need a CPR recertification after a certain period, we will dive into the details and highlight the importance of recertifying your CPR certification so that you can get all the necessary information here.
The Expiration Date on CPR Certificates and When to Recertifying
A CPR certification is valid for two years after the date of issue, as stated by both the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. The expiration date is marked on the certification card, after which the certification ceases to be valid and needs to be recertified. However, there’s something else to keep in mind besides the expiration date.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a part of the United States Department of Labor, recommends that employees holding a CPR certificate should be recertified yearly. And although this is not a strict requirement, it’s smart to take into consideration OSHA’s recommendation to renew CPR certificates annually, even though the certificate is still technically valid.
When Recertifying Your CPR Certificate Is Needed
The simplest answer is everyone who holds a valid CPR certificate. OSHA recommends that at least one employee in every workplace is First Aid and CPR-certified, regardless of the occupation, and is able to provide help in emergency situations. This recommendation applies not only to medical professionals but to people from various professions.
However, in certain professions, people need to have a valid CPR certificate in order to be employed in a particular position in the first place.
- All healthcare workers
- First responders
- Teachers & other school personnel
- Designated safety workers
There are several other industries where CPR-certified workers are mandated by OSHA, as these jobs are considered extremely dangerous. Also, they are often performed in remote locations, far away from emergency care centers, and CPR is the only chance at resuscitation.
- Confined Spaces
Even if a valid CPR certification is not one of the job requirements, getting one is a good idea if you are in charge of caring for other people. Parents, babysitters, and caregivers are good examples of who should be CPR (re)certified, as they are responsible for other individuals. Usually, these are people from the most vulnerable categories, so having a valid CPR certification might be considered a moral requirement. Anyone that’s responsible for people in these categories should get CPR-certified, even though it’s not required by law.
The Importance of Recertifying Your CPR Certification
Now you know that your certification has an expiration date, but you may be thinking about not renewing it. This is not a good idea – and for several reasons, which we will discuss below.
- CPR Methods Change
CPR methods and techniques are subject to constant change, and this has become particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. During COVID, bystanders were more reluctant to initiate resuscitation — CPR-providing rates fell by 5.1%. Furthermore, in the last two decades, there have been several changes in the compression: ventilation ratio and the CPR sequence. So, it’s evident that there have been significant changes in the way we provide CPR and these changes are quite recent, too.
By getting your CPR certification renewed, you’ll be educated on the latest and best CPR practices. You’ll refresh your knowledge on how to go through the CPR steps properly and ensure that you’ll provide the best help possible.
- You Are Getting Out of Practice
As time goes by, likely, you’ll likely forget a good portion of your CPR training. It has been proven that older memory fades over time and is replaced with new knowledge – and your memory of CPR methods is not exempt from this occurrence.
It’s also been proven that CPR skill decreases over time, especially when it comes to artificial ventilation, particularly in people that have received hands-only training instead of conventional CPR training. Getting recertified will refresh your knowledge and your physical skill in CPR, and you’ll be ready to assist with cardiac arrest incidents.
- Your Job Requires It
If you’re in a line of work that requires a CPR certification, you’ll need to have a certification that is always up to date. People in CPR-required fields need to complete the training and get certified, then recertify their certifications on a regular basis. However, you don’t have to worry about the cost of getting recertified if CPR is mandatory for your job. In such cases, the employer covers the training and certification expenses as stated in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
However, if the CPR certification is not part of the job requirements and you decide to get it voluntarily outside of work hours, your employer is not obligated to cover the expense. But if it is required, it’s best to get recertified even before the expiration date to ensure that not a day goes by without you holding a valid CPR certificate.
- There Is an Urgent Need for CPR-Certified People
The importance of CPR recertification becomes evident when you consider the small number of CPR-certified individuals in the US. Only 2.4% of the US population receive CPR training yearly, meaning that very few people would know how to do CPR properly if they witness a heart attack or another injury requiring CPR.
According to the AHA, 350,000 heart attacks happen outside of the hospital annually, and many lives are lost due to late reactions. The only solution for this is to have more CPR-certified individuals. So, if you’re in doubt about getting recertified, remember that you might be someone’s only chance for survival.
- You Can Save a Life
Holding a valid CPR certificate means that you have been updated on the latest CPR trends and that your training is relatively fresh in both your brain and muscle memory. It has been proven that muscle memory is extremely important for the quality of chest compressions and, thus, the success of the CPR session.
By getting recertified, you’ll jog your muscle memory and you’ll be more prepared to provide proper CPR in the event of an accident — drowning, choking, or any other instance when a person’s breathing stops or their heart stops beating. So, with some simple training, you can contribute to the prevention of death by cardiac arrest and be the reason why someone lives to see another day. Knowing you can save a life should be reason enough to apply for recertification!
What We Learned About Recertifying Your CPR Certificates
This article set out to divert your attention to the fact that CPR certifications are not valid forever; they have an expiration date and need to be renewed regularly. It also provides several arguments on the importance of recertifying your CPR certification and emphasizes why you need to get recertified in CPR.
Hopefully, this article has been useful and informative and urged you to look into CPR recertification training and get a valid certificate. And whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to give CPR, remember to call 911 before you start with compressions!