Should train conductors know CPR? Absolutely.

Shouldn’t everyone who works with the public know it?

This question was raised by the Sun Times in an article about a man who collapsed on a Metra train last week and died.

Cardiac arrest is incredibly common, and it’s not the only condition that could require CPR—there are many others. Not only train conductors but wait staff, bank tellers, teachers, parents and anyone working in a public venue or service industry should know it, too. CPR is not a job requirement in many industries where people interact daily with the public. Shouldn’t it be?

Emergencies don’t just happen in public—they can happen at the office and occur most often in people’s homes. The article states that four hours is an impractical amount of time for some to devote to CPR certification. Is four hours really too long to become certified to save someone’s life? Is it worth the risk not to take this time? The American Red Cross offers shorter, non-certifiable courses for people who would like to learn the skill at home or do not require certification. We also offer low-cost training programs throughout the year so that training is available to more people. Take advantage of these opportunities.

Don’t believe that CPR is something other people will take care of when the time comes. You never think this will happen to you or someone you care about… but it does. Be prepared. Invest a small amount of time and acquire the skills that enable you to save a life. It may be the best investment you ever make.

Who do you think should be required to know CPR? Would you feel safer if your wait staff, teacher, coworker, spouse or train operator knew this skill? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Lisa Ardaugh is the Chief Preparedness Officer for the Greater Chicago Red Cross.

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