Do I Have to Do CPR If I'm Certified?

Don't skip the training for fear of being sued

Some folks are reluctant to get CPR certified because they believe they could be sued if someone collapses near them and they don't do CPR. Do you have to do CPR if you are CPR certified?

First-aider practicing chest compressions on CPR dummy

In 49 states, the answer is no.

This has more to do with Good Samaritan laws than CPR certification. In every state, there is some sort of protection from lawsuits for any person providing emergency medical care to a victim of a medical emergency, as long as the rescuer doesn't expect to get paid for the care.

In 49 states, the decision to help is entirely up to the would-be rescuer. He or she can choose to help the patient or not, and nothing will happen. Of course, rescuers who are part of an organized ambulance agency, fire department, law enforcement organization or rescue squad have what is known as a duty to act and are usually bound to provide help.

Right about now, you've probably noticed that I said 49 states and you're wondering about Vermont – well, you're wondering about the 50th state, which happens to be Vermont.

Vermont's Good Samaritan law requires rescuers to help in the case of an emergency. They aren't kidding around; Vermont's residents aren't counting on the charity of the human race (or at least not the charity of fellow Vermonters). Those who do not help during an emergency face a fine of $100. Training of any sort is not mentioned in the Vermont law. In other words: you have to help out because you're human, not because you're trained.

It sounds to me like you ought to be certified in CPR in Vermont. Because trained or not, you're duty-bound to help out or cough up a hundred bucks.

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