In One Day, Get Certified to Save Lives

Hand placement technique for proper chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation involve: (1) kneeling next to the person in need, (2) stacking both hands, with interlaced fingers, two inches above the base of the breastbone, as shown in this photo supplied by the American Heart Association, and (3) keeping the fingers of the bottom hand extended outward.

Gabber journalist Debbie Wolfe completed the American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED certification course on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

It takes less than one workday to experience and the results can last a lifetime for someone in need.

What is it? The adult and pediatric first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) combination course for lay responders offered by the American Red Cross.

According to Red Cross website, the instructor-led, five-hour and 20-minute course is designed for people who wish to be able to respond to “first aid, breathing and cardiac emergencies” at home, school, in the workplace and community. Course content also meets OSHA requirements for workplace certification.

In a group classroom environment, the training includes hands-on practice with adult and baby simulators, the proper use of an AED and interaction with a fellow student based on several common rescue scenarios including choking.

Mnemonics also assist lay participants in remembering critical steps such as the three Cs: (1) check the scene to make sure it is safe for you to provide assistance; (2) call 911 or an other appropriate telephone number for professional help; (3) care for the person, if needed, with CPR and an AED if one is available.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA) website, about 360,000 cardiac arrest incidents happen each year in the US outside of hospital settings and less than 10 percent of the victims survive. Immediate CPR and early application of an AED can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. “For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease by 7-10 percent.”

Successful students completing the Red Cross course receive a digital certification wallet card and a frame-sized wall certificate. A unique ID number and scan code on each provides proof of course completion.

The cost for a group class at the organization’s St. Petersburg training center, 818 4th Street N., is $110.

The cost of most AED units is from $1,500 to $2,000, according to the AHA website. Many schools, fitness centers, sports arenas, office complexes, doctor’s offices, airports, airplanes, restaurants and shopping centers provide AEDs.

The website of the American Safety and Health Institute stresses that AEDs located in public places are “created for just that purpose – for use by the public, even if it’s an untrained bystander.”

For more information and to register for the Red Cross training, visit

The Red Cross recommends that graduates complete a refresher course every three months “to keep your knowledge and skills sharp so you feel ready to respond.” Free online refresher course content is available at

CPR/AED courses for professional rescuers and healthcare providers are also available. For more information, call 1-800-REDCROSS.


During classroom training, participants have access to a printed brochure that summarizes proper technique for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) device. The 12-page Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED brochure can be found online here: The adult version, pictured, can be found here:

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