In cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, class, you will learn the basic steps to prolong someone's life until emergency medical technicians arrive. You will learn how to check the severity of injuries, check for breathing, how to administer CPR, and what to do if your breaths don't go into the lungs. CPR class can be intense but short, and you will typically finish with a practical and written exam. Upon passing, you will be given a CPR card, which will be valid for one year.
Choose your class. The American Red Cross offers a variety, such as those that focus on infant and child care, or others for the professional rescuer, such as for lifeguards or firefighters. Generally, those who want to learn basic CPR might take Adult CPR/AED. The American Red Cross also offers review CPR classes to recertify, as well as challenge classes, where there is no review component but rather a recertification test.
Prepare your materials. You will need a CPR manual and a pocket face mask to begin classes. Call ahead of time to see if the instructor will be giving you materials on the first day or if you are responsible for purchasing them in advance. Also, according to the American Red Cross of Greater New York, you should bring a pencil and paper to take notes. If your course requires a prerequisite, be prepared to show documentation.
Consult your doctor if you have any physical conditions that could prevent you from completing the steps of CPR. The American Red Cross of Greater New York warns that CPR classes are physically demanding, and participants who are concerned with the requirements should discuss their limits with a physician. For example, in your CPR class you will be required to complete rigorous chest compressions on a training dummy.