What Does It Mean to be Certified in First Aid and CPR?

American Red Cross Card

I’m frequently asked what it means to be “certified” in First Aid, CPR, or AED use.

Though the certification requirements may differ very slightly from one organization to another (i.e., American Red Cross vs. American Heart Association vs. National Safety Association), to be “certified” in these skills generally means that a person has attended, in-person, a training class where they:

  • Were taught to recognize signs and symptoms of injuries and illnesses.
  • Demonstrated the ability to assess a situation and a victim.
  • Demonstrated the ability to treat a victim with initial emergency response tactics for a variety of injuries and illnesses.
  • Demonstrated the ability to use proper first aid supplies in treating victims.

With most organizations, certification is valid for two years initially. Refresher training is commonly available, though not always with every organization.

Not all classes are the same. Make sure you work with a training organization — whether that’s ProActive Safety CPR or another reputable firm — that has a track record of not just lecturing students, but giving sufficient opportunity to class participants to practice the skills they learn.

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