January 14, 1999
CARDIO PULMONARY RESUSCITATION (CPR) REQUIREMENTS FOR FIRE FIGHTERS
By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst
You asked if state law requires firefighters to perform CPR and if federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require fire fighters to be certified and recertified in CPR.
No state statute requires fire fighters, whether paid or volunteer, to perform CPR. And whether CPR is considered to be part of a fire fighter's duties depends on how the department defines his duties. If he is expected to perform CPR, he must be trained to do so pursuant to federal OSHA regulations, which require fire departments to provide fire fighters with training and education commensurate with “those duties and functions that [they] are expected to perform” (29CFR § 1910.156). The departments must ensure that the training and education is conducted frequently enough to ensure that fire fighters are able to perform “assigned duties and functions satisfactorily and in a safe manner so as not to endanger [department] members” (29 CFR § 1910.156).
The federal OSHA regulations do not require fire fighters to be trained to perform CPR, if it is not part of their duties. But, according to the Connecticut OSHA office, an employer can exceed the federal standards and require the training anyway.
Most of the state's fire fighters, according to Jeff Morrissette, state fire administrator, take the CPR course offered by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association, after which they receive a card indicating that they have successfully completed national cognitive and skills evaluation in CPR. The Red Cross card is valid for one year; the Heart Association card is valid for two years. Thus, to keep his card current, a fire fighter must be retrained every year or every two years, depending on his certifying organization.