There is a common misconception that undergoing CPR training gives you a legal obligation to perform it in the event of an emergency. It is reasonably expected that you render your assistance if needed (why else would you have taken CPR training?), but you should note that in 49 out of the 50 States, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation is not compulsory, with the exception being the state of Vermont.

Minor Exceptions

Scene Safety

There are some exceptions to the rule, the primary being for emergency personnel who are in fact required to administer emergency assistance to those in need, particularly if they are on duty. This includes:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Paramedics
  • State workers (Depending upon job description)

In the state of Vermont it is required that citizens do provide reasonable assistance if they see another individual in danger of grave physical harm, but how far does extend? What do you do in a dangerous situation?

When the Situation is Escalated

Anyone who takes CPR certification classes probably has the expectation that at some point in their lives they will be able to swoop into action and save the day, even if it is a compulsory rescue, such as in the case of Vermont. Unfortunately, that is not always going to be possible. Let’s say for example you’re standing in front of a crash site on the freeway and you see an individual in trouble. You know that they may require CPR, but you cannot move them, and performing the CPR in the middle of the road may place you in a very dangerous position. Naturally, it is your call as to whether or not you want to take the risk, but that’s just the thing: it’s your call. This question was recently raised on an internet forum and the Red Cross dutifully answered by stating that in these situations one should simply call emergency services and wait for them to arrive.

No Expectation of Assistance

You have the skill, you know how to use it and you want to save lives, but when it comes right down to it, you absolutely need to put yourself before others, especially in potentially dangerous situations. It could be a burning house, it could be a wreck, it might even be a worse situation than that. There is no telling what you might run into out there, in the world, and dangerous situations do exist and there is almost never a reason for you to put your life on the line. As always it’s your decision, but no one is ever going to force it on you. Even in Vermont, the fine is only $100, and they’re usually quite reasonable, especially in a life-threatening situation.

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