How Often Should You Refresh CPR Training?

In the ever-evolving field of emergency medical services, staying updated with the latest protocols and techniques is crucial for saving lives.

For organizations like Rescue7, ensuring that their staff are proficient in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is not just a regulatory requirement but a moral obligation.

But how often should CPR training be refreshed to ensure effectiveness and readiness in a crisis? This question is vital for organizations committed to safety and preparedness.

Understanding CPR Training

CPR is a life-saving technique used in emergencies when someone’s heartbeat or breathing has stopped.

It combines chest compressions and ventilations to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest.

Training in CPR involves learning how to perform these chest compressions and breaths effectively, recognizing the signs of a heart attack or a sudden collapse, and acting swiftly and confidently until professional medical help arrives.

The Need for Regular Refreshers

CPR guidelines are periodically updated as new scientific research emerges, making it essential for even seasoned professionals to refresh their training regularly.

For example, the American Heart Association (AHA) updates its guidelines every five years based on new evidence. These updates can include changes in the depth and rate of compressions, the recommended number of rescue breaths, and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

Moreover, the skill of performing CPR can degrade over time without practice. Studies have shown that retention of CPR skills declines within a few months after training, with a significant decrease in knowledge and performance abilities. Regular refresher courses help maintain these critical skills.

How Often Should Training Be Refreshed?

According to the Standards Research report by the Canadian Standards Association, dated March 2024, the recommended interval between initial training and recertification for CPR skills should be every two to three years.

However, evidence suggests a significant decline in skills retention soon after initial training, recommending refresher training within six to twelve months of initial conventional CPR training.

This approach is supported by a review of about 20 peer-reviewed articles, indicating that CPR skills begin to decline less than six months after initial training.

While this is the evidence from the Canadian Standards Association, this is not a hard rule. Here are other recommendations to keep your skills fresh.

Annual Training

Annual CPR refresher courses help individuals retain the knowledge and skills they need to perform CPR effectively.

These sessions typically review the technique, allow for hands-on practice, and cover any new guidelines.

Annual refreshers also serve as an excellent opportunity to practice using an AED, as these devices are increasingly available in public spaces and workplaces.

Ongoing Practice

Besides scheduled training sessions, ongoing practice sessions can be highly beneficial.

Rescue7 encourages monthly or quarterly practice sessions that can be conducted internally within organizations.

These practice sessions do not have to be extensive but should reinforce the basic steps of CPR and ensure familiarity with any potentially updated protocols.

Integrating Technology in Training

Advancements in technology offer new ways to enhance CPR training. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and online simulation tools are now used to create more engaging and realistic training scenarios.

Many companies have integrated such technologies to provide immersive learning experiences that allow individuals to practice their skills in various simulated emergency scenarios, improving their response time and efficiency in real-world situations.

Training for Everyone

CPR training isn’t just for healthcare professionals or safety personnel.

It’s a critical skill that everyone should learn, from school staff and office workers to event managers and security personnel. Broadening the scope of CPR training helps create a community prepared to respond effectively in emergencies.

Rescue 7 provides comprehensive CPR training and various emergency and life-saving programs.

These training sessions are designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to respond effectively to cardiac emergencies, enhancing the overall effectiveness of AED use in critical situations.

Find out more about our CPR Training here


Ensuring that CPR training is not only up-to-date but also regularly refreshed is key to maintaining a prepared and effective team.

Refreshing CPR training annually, supplemented by ongoing practice sessions, ensures that everyone is equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies confidently and effectively.

With the integration of new technologies and broader training programs, we can improve survival rates from cardiac events and create safer communities everywhere.

In conclusion, the frequency of CPR training refresher courses should be determined by the nature of the work, the environment, and the risk factors involved.

However, at a minimum, refreshing CPR training annually is a best practice that all organizations should adopt to ensure safety and preparedness at all levels.