Q: What is the acceptable MA protocol for an AHA First Aid trained rescuer regarding administration of aspirin to someone with chest pain?

A: MA EMS protocol doesn’t cover lay rescuers trained in First Aid. Where aspirin is an over-the-counter drug (not like oxygen which is a controlled substance), it is included in the AHA First Aid training. Bear in mind though, that it is not for aspirin administration, it’s an aspirin recommendation:

“First aid providers are encouraged to activate the EMS system for anyone with chest discomfort. While waiting for EMS to arrive, first aid providers should advise the patient to chew 1 adult (non–enteric-coated) or 2 lowdose “baby” aspirins if the patient has no history of allergy to aspirin and no recent gastrointestinal bleeding.”

Q: I am preparing to teach HeartSaver First Aid. Does Massachusetts have any particular guidance/regulations/laws regarding EpiPen administration? Would the Good Samaritan law pertain to a care giver who assists a victim administer an EpiPen?

A: Massachusetts regulations allow EMTs, RNs, and MDs to administer epinephrine auto injectors. There is also a law that allows bus drivers and teachers to administer these injections to school children. First Responders (police, fire) may do so only if working for a licensed ambulance service or a licensed EFR (and then it has to be spelled out in the town's Service Zone Plan and MDPH approved training must be done which hasn't been created yet). The so-called "Good Samaritan" law (MGL Chap 112: Section 12V) limits liability to those providing CPR and AED.

Q: I am an American Heart Association BLS Instructor and have been asked by a restaurant to teach a “Choke Save” course. What should I do?

A:  The American Heart Association does not offer courses solely for the relief of Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO). Explain to the restaurant that this is because if someone is choking (respiratory arrest), cardiac arrest will immediately follow and rescuers need to be prepared to administer CPR. The AHA Heartsaver CPR course would be a good choice to cover both of these skills. You'll note the law also refers to the OPTION of having a "device" on premises for food removal. AHA courses do not offer any training in these devices.
Reference: MGL Chap94 Section 305 D and 105 CMR 605.000.

Q: I am an American Heart Association BLS Instructor and have been asked to conduct a BLS for Healthcare Providers renewal course, but some of the participants have expired cards. Can they take the renewal course?

A: The Course Director (that would be you) has the final authority for allowing a student to take a renewal course if he or she does not have a current AHA Provider card or an AHA accepted equivalent card (e.g., American Red Cross Professional Rescuer CPR). Students who present an expired Provider card or do not possess a Provider card may be allowed to take a renewal course but will not be given the option of remediation. These students will need to complete the entire Provider Course if they cannot successfully meet the course completion requirements when tested.  Source: AHA Program Administration Manual updated 10/2008 pg. 50

Q: How much money do CPR instructors make?

A: CPR instructors set their own fees for courses so their income varies. In addition to the initial cost of an instructor course, there are costs associated with the instructor manuals and videos. Course fees must also cover the cost of text books, student supplies (e.g., barrier shields and masks), manikins, AED trainers, and cards.

Q: As an EMT, if I hold a current card as an AHA BLS Instructor, do I need a separate Healthcare Provider card?

A: No, the AHA BLS Instructor card is sufficient.

Q: As an AHA BLS instructor, what does the state of MA allow me to certify people as CPR only, or can I also certify first responders?

A: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not govern your American Heart Association Instructor status; that is the responsibility of the AHA Training Center listed on the back of your BLS Instructor card. There is no "certification" for First Responders. There must be documentation that First Responder training was completed in accordance with the OEMS Administrative Requirement 2-100. This AR includes the primary instructor qualification requirements, which includes certification as an instructor, (but not specifically as an AHA BLS instructor). NOTE: The AHA has a First Aid course designed for laypeople. It is NOT equivalent to First Responder training.

Additional information regarding First Responder requirements and regulations.

Q: Can a EMT become a CPR Instructor?

A: Yes, an EMT can become a CPR, or more accurately, a BLS Instructor. Courses are available through various training associations (e.g., American Heart Association, Red Cross). CMEMSC offers this training through its AHA Training Center. Email Tina Dixson

Q:  Do only First Responders need to renew their training in CPR each year or does that include EMT's, AEMTs, & Paramedics?

A: According to regulation, only First Responders need to renew their CPR (healthcare professional level) training on a yearly basis. EMTs (all levels) must renew every two years.

Q: Will AHA CPR rosters suffice as proof of certification of training while awaiting cards?

A: A fully completed AHA roster with the signature of a valid AHA instructor is sufficient to provide evidence that the course was completed while awaiting cards except for EMTs who are required to hold a current training card at all times while operating on an ambulance.

Q: When do CPR cards actually expire? Is there such a thing as "a 30 day grace period" to recertify?

A: American Heart Association CPR cards are valid for two years from training and expire the last day of the month indicated on the card's expiration date. Instructors aligned with the CMEMSC AHA Training Center may use their own discretion to allow a thirty day "grace period" for individuals taking the Healthcare Provider Renewal course rather than mandating the Healthcare Provider Initial course. There are no other AHA courses available in the "renewal" format.