How to select a CPR/AED trainer

Project ADAM recommends the following when choosing a trainer:

  • Training should comply with state EMS or American Heart Association (AHA) standards for CPR and AED. Be sure to provide certification upon completion for Basic Life Support/AED. Recently, the AHA added pediatric AED training to their program, which especially is important for elementary schools.
  • It usually is best to work with trainers in your local community, although many, like the Red Cross, have a national network. Ask for recommendations from your local EMS services or hospitals, which likely have listings of trainers in your area.
  • Training must include CPR and AED, but a refresher course in pediatric first aid also is a good idea, since many of the emergencies you respond to will be less serious than cardiac arrest.
  • Shop around for the best price, but make sure the price quoted provides all the training you desire. In addition, ask what follow-up is available for the base price. Does your trainer have the ability to do event debriefing, follow-up education or mock cardiac arrest scenarios?
  • Choose a trainer with an AED unit similar to your own and one with pediatric pads. This allows you to practice scenarios that are similar to real life.
  • It is important to train as many people in the school as possible. However, the trainer-to-student ratio should be no more than 1 to 10. The janitor is an important person to train since he or she often is at the school after hours when fewer school staff members are available.
  • Ideally, training should take place at your site, although some local colleges will offer it as a campus course.
  • The training should be scheduled well in advance of the expected delivery of the device so there is no delay in getting the device installed soon after it arrives. It can take several weeks to get training dates with some providers.
  • Retraining often is necessary after several years because personnel change in the schools.
  • Appoint someone to be in charge of maintaining the device, which includes checking the response lights, batteries and pads. A Medical Emergency Response Plan should be filed with the area EMS Service, which is available through Project ADAM. This helps area EMS know the locations of all public access defibrillators in the community.
  • Finally, don't forget that part of training is seeing that everyone in the school knows where the AED is located. Announcements at school sporting events and periodically over the school intercom are an important part of training the entire student body and the local community on the location of the AED devices. Signs come with the AED, and additional signs are available through Project ADAM. Signs should be prominently placed near the AED and on the front door of the school.

For more information about Project ADAM, call (414) 266-3889 or email projectadam@chw.org.

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