Staff CPR and First-Aid Certification Commentary

Essential Standard: All of your agency’s staff are CPR & First-Aid certified within 90 days of employment

This table specifies both required and recommended attributes that are evaluated during the accreditation process. Those attributes labeled as required must be present for accreditation. Attributes labeled as recommended could be reviewed, but are not necessarily required, during the accreditation process. Each requirement and recommendation is further explained in the sections below.


  • Provide all staff with CPR/First-Aid training and certification within 90 days of employment


  • CPR/First-Aid training includes in-person component 
  • Staff education on importance of CPR/First-Aid certification for servicing survivors
  • AED training with defibrillator on-site

The Importance of CPR & First-Aid Certification

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires that without a hospital, clinic, or infirmary in close proximity, an employee of the workplace on each shift must be properly trained to provide First-Aid. As it is estimated that first responders take around 8-12 minutes to arrive on-site after calling 911, it is recommended that employees are certified in First-Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and AED, if applicable, to be able to respond to medical emergencies, while waiting for first responders. First-Aid is not formal medical treatment and will not replace interventions from a medical professional but will educate employees on life-saving techniques to perform with minimal equipment and no previous medical experience.

Investing in CPR and general First-Aid training for employees at your agency is considered essential to creating a safe workplace for your employees and a safe environment for your clients. The more First-Aid and CPR certified individuals within a workplace and community, the safer the workplace and community becomes. With an intention to have residential programs as safe and prepared as possible, NTSA recommends that all employees at your agency are certified within 90 days of employment. This ensures that everyone at your agency is educated and prepared to respond to a medical situation or emergency on-site. Your agency should maintain documentation of all employees’ certifications and ensure that when employees’ certifications are about to expire, they become re-certified. 

The Benefits of CPR & First-Aid Training in the Workplace
  • Lifesaving Skills
    • Around 1,000 Americans each day suddenly experience cardiac arrest – having someone on-site to perform CPR or utilize an automated external defibrillator (AED), if available, can be the difference between life and death 
    • An employee that has been CPR trained has been educated on the necessary skills and responses to keep an individual in cardiac arrest alive, while waiting for professional medical personnel to respond


  • Emergency Response Skills
    • First-Aid training will equip employees on how to respond in a variety of medical situations, including dealing with fractures, sprains, burns, cuts, allergic reactions, strains, and stings
    • In certain circumstances, not receiving immediate First-Aid care can result in symptoms worsening or deteriorating
      • Training will aid employees to know how to stabilize the client until emergency medical services arrive
    • With the proper training, employees will also be able to remain calm and respond to all medical needs in a manner that will comfort the client 


  •  Fewer Workplace Accidents 
    • Employees trained on basic First-Aid & CPR are equipped with knowledge that will allow them to be more safety-conscious within their work
    • With an increased level of safety awareness, reckless behavior in the workplace decreases and there is a greater respect for safety and health protocols 


  • Positive Work Environment
    • Training staff for a medical emergency or medical situation will ease concerns and improve staff morale, due to preparedness
    • By making the health and safety of clients, as well as staff, a priority through training, employees can feel valued by your agency 
First-Aid & CPR Certification Options

There are various ways that employees can be certified, including with off-site certification courses or by having a certified trainer provide on-site training for your employees. To receive official OSHA certification, training should occur in person with physical interaction and the practice of life-saving skills on a dummy provided during training. Training can include online components as well; however, it is considered best practice to have in-person training, alongside any online education. 

  • American Red Cross – First Aid/CPR/AED Program
    • The First Aid/CPR/AED program is available in two delivery formats: classroom (instructor-led) and blended learning, featuring online simulation learning followed by an in-person skills session.
    • This program offers the flexibility of selecting First Aid, CPR and AED courses for adults, children and infants to meet the various training needs.
  • American Heart Association – Heartsaver® First Aid CPR AED Course
    • Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED is geared towards anyone with little or no medical training who needs a course completion card for their job, regulatory (e.g., OSHA), or other requirements or anyone who wants to be prepared for an emergency in any setting. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive a course completion card, valid for two years. 
  • National Safety Council – First Aid, CPR and AED Training
    • The National Safety Council is the expert in occupational first aid and CPR training. The training meets OSHA First Aid Standard 29 CFR 1910.15 and the latest CPR and first aid guidelines, and can be customized to meet the specific needs of your industry.
    • NSC can send an authorized instructor to your work site to provide training to your employees on a schedule that’s most convenient.
  • proActive Safety Services – CPR First-AID AED Train the Trainer Course
    • Trains employers to meet OSHA and other federal & state regulatory requirements for training employees on CPR & First-Aid.
    • Provides your agency with an on-site trainer among your staff to update and train your staff.

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