According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac events happen across the United States every year. Tragically, 90% of people who experience these events die and—equally tragic—bystander intervention rates remain low.1 

Closing the gap between the number of people who need CPR and the number of people who perform CPR may well hold the key to giving more people a second chance at life. Let’s look at some common reasons lay persons may not act during a cardiac event and how together we may overcome them. 

Accessibility of CPR Training

Many people still believe that CPR training courses require large groups gathering in-person. The complexities of finding a course that fits your schedule along with concerns about safety in a COVID world may not make this your first choice. 

The Opportunity: 

Online CPR training extends the ability for more people to learn and get certified in a safe and convenient way. Many companies even provide multiple options for hands-on manikin practice.

Lack of Broad-Based Training

Unless required for a job or volunteer activity, most people do not get CPR-certified. 

The Opportunity: 

Many states now require CPR certification pre-graduation requirement for high school students. This may normalize CPR training among the next generation and expand the pool of people trained and ready to help when needed. 

Licensing Myths

It’s true that you receive a CPR certification card after completing a CPR course and passing the skills test. However, earning a CPR certification isn’t like getting your driver’s license. 

The Opportunity: 

You don’t need this card to try and save a life. CPR cards provide employers with the assurance their staff hold this certification when required, but the fact is that anyone can perform CPR.

Rusty Skills

A CPR certification lasts two years but without practice, many details are forgotten over time. 

The Opportunity

Fortunately, many CPR training providers offer mini-refresher content or courses to improve retention and give people the confidence they need to help in an emergency. 

Fear of … (fill in the gap)

Being brave doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear, it just means you do what is needed in spite of being afraid. Whether you’re afraid of failing, of hurting the person, of being sued or something else, know you’re not alone. 

The Opportunity

The best CPR education covers more than breath or chest compression skills. It openly discusses the fears associated with rescue so you feel capable of handling any situation, whether it’s attempting to save your mother or a complete stranger. 

The need for CPR is not going away and neither is the need for more people to be ready, willing and able to perform CPR. Let today be the day you make the choice to get ready to help if and when needed. Together, we can close the CPR training and CPR action gap.

1 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2019 Update: A Report From The American Heart Association, published January 31, 2019; accessed December 18, 2020,,provider%20in%2012%25%20of%20cases

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