PUBLISHED: 4:32 PM on Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Brush up on CPR skills with training
American Red Cross of Southeast Alaska

There was a time that I spoke Japanese fluently and used it in my everyday life as a manager for a retail establishment in Hawaii.

That was several years ago, and I have found that I no longer retain the skills to converse in the language; put simply, I didn't use it, so I lost it.

The same is true for those who become certified in CPR for the lay responder.

As with any skill, if you don't use your training, you tend to forget the steps to respond to an emergency.

The American National Red Cross reviewed 24 research studies on the retention and motivational preparedness of which the Red Cross conducted six and the remaining 18 studies were drawn from published peer journals.

Although all 24 studies were conducted differently to include different methods, measures and populations, there was a collective agreement that evidence had not been found to support anything more than a one year CPR certification. In fact, many studies pointed to the need for ongoing education, reviews and skill practice sessions.

Unlike the published research, the Red Cross conducted six studies that sought the relationship between CPR education and motivation to respond in an emergency.

The Red Cross applied a theory based behavioral model to move the study beyond CPR education and skill assessment to include response readiness. After careful evaluation the Red Cross found as students gained course experience and confidence in their skills, their motivation to respond to medical emergencies declined less over time.

As with anything that is learned, our retention of skills is dependent upon the continued review of those skills. Whether it is a foreign language, piloting a small air craft or life saving CPR, review and skill practice is key to our ability to do those things effectively.

For more information on CPR, and other Red Cross training, please call our offices at 463-5713 or visit our website at

The training you receive today may help save a life tomorrow.