One of the first questions we are asked when developing a training plan with a new prospective client is “What is it going to cost me?” In some cases this is also the last question we are asked. I try not to take it personally when someone turns down a proposal because another bidder claims that they can do it cheaper. However, I fear that in most instances the low-ball offer lacks the foundational elements required to make training effective. When structurally deficient training programs are used for emergency preparedness, participants miss out on valuable information, companies are put at higher risk of liability, and the survival and wellbeing of those who become sick or injured is severely compromised.
The most common reason for a discrepancy between two project bids is that the bids are not for the same service. It is vital for companies to be comparing apples to apples when considering a training program. Consider these questions when evaluating a proposal for first aid or CPR training:
- Is the training provider using a nationally recognized training program? Nationally recognized authorities develop training curriculums and standards that are required for participants to become certified. Code One is authorized under the American Heart Association (AHA) which is internationally recognized as the gold-standard for resuscitation training and certification. There are hundreds of training entities out there that claim that they meet AHA guidelines but are not AHA Training Centers and do not teach AHA’s validated training program. Only AHA Training Centers issue AHA certifications. Many training providers offer online-only courses which do not require participants to practice or demonstrate skills. CPR is a skill which cannot be effectively learned without hands-on practice and evaluation.
- How many participants are allowed per class? How many instructors? How many manikins? Nationally recognized programs require a maximum ratio of one instructor for every nine participants but recommend ratios lower than that. For training manikins, the number of participants per manikin should never exceed three. Nationally recognized programs use a “practice while watching” curriculum which has been scientifically proven to improve memory and recall of skills in emergency situations. With this type of instruction, participants watch the DVD while they are practicing hands-on skills on the manikins. This affords instructors the opportunity to watch participants as they perform their skills and offer individualized feedback. The AHA will soon be requiring manikins that provide objective audio or visual feedback to participants on CPR compression rate and depth.
- What materials are provided to participants? Each participant should receive a student workbook that is published by a nationally recognized program, a pocket mask or training valve, and first aid materials that can be used to practice skills in class. It is a violation of US copyright law for training providers to distribute photocopied workbooks.
- What certification is provided to participants? Be sure that the certificate is through a nationally recognized program. Certificates are expensive and require documentation for them to be issued to participants. Beware of training providers that substitute their own certificate or another program’s certificate to avoid the time and expense of issuing the proper card.
The gossip around Code One’s water cooler this week was about a training provider that submitted an amazingly low bid on a first aid and CPR training project. Our client reached out to us to ask questions about why the two competing bids were so drastically different. We provided them with the above questions and heard back only a few hours later with a report: The training provider was utilizing a nationally recognized curriculum, however, for a group of 25 participants, indicated that there would only be one instructor, four training manikins, and photocopies of the student workbook for anyone that wanted it. The six hour training would also be completed in under two hours. With all of those shortcuts, it was no wonder why the training provider was able to come in at such a lower price – they were breaking almost every requirement and standard set by the certifying organization!
Unfortunately training providers that put profits over quality are somewhat common in the industry. As one training provider gets shut down for not complying with national standards, another will open following identical practices. While most providers are not as bold with their deficiencies as the one discussed in our example, all providers should be evaluated to ensure that their training satisfies the goals of the client and adheres to set national standards.
As an American Heart Association Training Center, Code One stays up to date on the latest science and strictly adheres to AHA standards. We have carefully priced out our programs to ensure that we are able to deliver training at the lowest possible cost to our clients without sacrificing quality or compliance with AHA standards. We maintain a ratio of less than eight participants per instructor and most classes have one training manikin for every participant. Our team only uses training manikins from Prestan Products which provide visual feedback to participants on their compression speed and depth. We take pride in knowing our clients leave class confident that they are able to take action in an emergency and save the life of a coworker, friend, or family member.
We hope that this information is helpful as you work towards selecting a training provider to complete your project!