Cedars-Sinai Blog

CPR: How and Why to Learn It

Registered nurse Ai Jin Lee shows students from Bravo Magnet High School how to perform CPR.

In a cardiac emergency, it could be your child, spouse, parent, or friend fighting for their life. But fewer than half of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital get the help they need before medical professionals arrive. Most die, because survival depends on prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to learn CPR in your community.

Fewer than half of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital get the help they need before medical professionals arrive.

"Everybody should take a CPR course," says nurse Flora Haus, an education program coordinator at Cedars-Sinai and an American Heart Association Basic Life Support instructor. "Any adult may suddenly be called upon to provide life-saving CPR, whether at work or at a social event."

The ability to perform CPR is critical for caregivers, whether they're looking after children or caring for the elderly. "Those are two very vulnerable populations," says Flora. "The more people who can come to their aid in a life-and-death crisis, the better."

Where to learn CPR

  • Contact your local Red Cross. They'll teach you to respond to respiratory and cardiac emergencies to help victims of any age. Some courses, such as Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED, also teach students to help during first aid emergencies.
  • Many schools and religious groups offer CPR training. An internet search or a glance at the community boards at schools, churches, synagogues, and similar locations will often show classes affiliated with the American Heart Association.
  • Fire departments are a great resource, either for providing CPR classes or referring you to other local options.
  • Hospitals may hold CPR classes. Cedars-Sinai offers infant safety and CPR for parents and other caregivers.
  • The American Heart Association has a tool to help you locate CPR classes near you.