Scary Fact #1 (CPR)

Heart Diagram Inside Rib Cage

Hi, it’s Steven St. Laurent, the Spanish OSHA Guy! Okay, so in my First Aid, CPR and AED training, I open up exactly where many emergency management trainers (CPR Trainers) fall short: I talk about the scary facts of why people don’t want to help in an emergency. Now I’m not talking about just anybody. I’m talking about people (perhaps like you) who have taken a 2 to 8-hour First Aid, CPR and/or AED course! They sat through a training, practiced the skills and then they walked out with a certification card only to say to themselves, “I ain’t gonna help unless it’s a family member or close friend!”

Why don’t trained people want to help?

Again, I’m not talking about paramedics, firefighters or professional emergency responders. I’m talking about the trained lay-person: you and me. Why don’t we want to help?

3 reasons! I call them the “Scary Facts”!

  1. Liability
  2. Infection
  3. Doing something wrong

In this blog article I address the first one: Liability.

You do NOT have to worry about liability. Some people think that they could lose their home or end up in jail because they helped some sweaty guy they didn’t even know. They are WRONG! But they still hang onto this idea of being found liable because they helped in a First Aid or CPR situation. Perhaps they think this because they have heard it somewhere or an uninformed friend once told them or maybe because they simply watched too much People’s Court in their youth. Either way, if they hold a First Aid, CPR or AED certification card and think this, then they had a lousy trainer!

Here is why you don’t have to worry about liability: The Good Samaritan Laws and over 40 Years of Precedent.

The Good Samaritan Law

Each state in the United States has many decades of the Good Samaritan Law. This is specifically designed to protect the bystander who helps out in an emergency. You are still protected by the Good Samaritan Laws even if you don’t hold a CPR certification. There are 2 things that the Good Samaritan Law takes into account: You must (1) Do what is Reasonable and (2) Do what you Know.

In a basic CPR course, you learn to push on someone’s chest and to breath air into their lungs with the primary purpose being to pump oxygen to their brain to save their brain from brain damage. Something unreasonable would be to use your foot instead of your hands to push on their chest! Who taught you the foot? No one!

The second item that the Good Samaritan Law takes into account is that you only did what you know or remember. No one can tell in advance how they will react in a true emergency, especially if they are with a loved one. Therefore if you panic, freeze or can’t think or remember what to do. You cannot be held liable. You are not obligated to help anyway. The only situation where you are obliged to help is if you have volunteered -in advance- to be part of the First Aid team at work. And even in that situation, if you freeze or can’t think, as long as you keep the scene safe and instruct someone to call 911, then you have helped! In my trainings I often remind people that “There are no CPR police, you cannot make a mistake!” And furthermore the most recent video put out by the AHA for us trainers to use declares, “The only mistake you can make is to not help at all.”

Over 40 Years of Precedent

Here is the most compelling reason why you should not worry at all about being held liable: No lay-person (like you and me) has ever been held liable in the United States for helping in a First Aid/CPR situation – Ever! We’ve been teaching non-medical professionals (like you and me) to push on someone’s chest and breathe air into someone’s lungs for over 40 years in America. And -thanks to the Good Samaritan Laws in each state- no lay-person has ever been held liable. No lay-person has ever lost their home, gone to jail or had to pay money in a law suit because they helped in a First Aid, CPR or AED situation.

Done. Bang. The first Scary Fact is put to rest!

Tags: ,

Leave A Reply (No comments so far)

No comments yet

Attend my Toolbox Talk of-the-Month for FREE!

Blog Articles & Videos