Wednesday, October 13, 2010

People to People's CPR Standards Follow the Highest Standards

[Image credit: Karen Murphy, Strollerderby]

Our delegation leaders’ primary purpose is to ensure that the delegation members learn and have a rich cultural experience. But, if something unexpected should happen to a delegation member, our leaders are also equipped to handle emergency situations. For example, beyond access to our 24 hour/day OnCall resource, each of our leaders are certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

We follow American Red Cross and the American Heart Association Standards.

There are many ways to be certified, but People to People Ambassador Programs has elected to follow the trusted (and highest) standards set by the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association (AHA). These organizations have a rigorous set of requirements that must be completed by any candidate seeking CPR certification (or re-certification).

Why these standards?

Why did we elect to use these standards? Because they are the most stringent. One critical difference between these standards and others is that they require actual demonstrated expertise.

What does that mean?

Our delegation leaders must prove that they are equipped to handle a CPR emergency by passing an in-person examination administered by a certified instructor. There's no room for doubt. It's not enough for someone to know - in theory - how to give CPR. They need to demonstrate that skill to a level acceptable by a certified instructor. Our leaders provide proof of CPR certification to our program office, which diligently tracks this and other important leader training info. If they do not provide proof of current certification, they do not travel. Period.

How is that different from other educational travel programs?

Some programs do not require this important training certification from all their leaders, or they allow their leaders to attend online-only classes.

A word about online-only training. [Image credit: American Red Cross Minn-Kota Chapter].

Online training is great for many things. CPR is not one of them. It requires too critical a skill to be trusted to the thousands of online sites that offer training at different levels. Even though most claim to meet the various standards set by organizations such as the American Red Cross and the AHA, they cannot if they do not offer in-person certification—something impossible for an online site to do.

A little digging shows how serious we are to our attention to delegate safety

As it turns out, not all the standards are really the same. Many online programs lump together meeting American Red Cross, AHA, and OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.

But I uncovered the loophole: OSHA does not completely follow the Red Cross/AHA standards as they do not require an in-person test. In reviewing their standards online, I found that the only time OSHA makes an in-person test a requirement is if you work in the logging industry. When I called the American Red Cross to ask them about the online training courses claiming to follow their standards, they seemed very concerned with the claims and promised to follow up with their legal group.

Are we proud of our attention to detail when it comes to delegate safety?

Yes. People to People Ambassador Programs is committed to the highest standards. Rather than relying on the weakest standards, we use the strongest. The fact that our delegation leaders exceed OSHA standards is one example. We will continue to monitor standards, call attention to those that do not meet our standards, and will make continuous improvement to our health and safety practices to ensure that every student receives the best care.

Mike Bowers
Senior Director of Health and Safety

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