What are the State CPR Guidelines for Tennessee?

Tennessee is one of the states with the deepest concern and highest awareness for the importance of Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Back in 2015, Tennessee registered 15.674 patients suffering from cardiac diseases, 24% resulting in fatal consequences. A year earlier, on the other hand, Tennessee held the fourth place as a state for cardiac mortality. 

The alarming numbers called for severe actions like implementing CPR in the educational system and some working conditions. This article will provide valuable information about CPR regulations and working requirements in Tennessee.

CPR and Legal Regulations in Tennessee

Tennessee has implemented several laws about providing first aid, CPR, and the use of an Automated external defibrillator (AED) in its Code. Below we summarize the main points of the regulations related to CPR and AED in Tennessee’s Code.

Tennessee’s AED Law

The initial regulation related to sudden cardiac arrests and providing first aid was passed in 1998. Tennessee encourages using an AED in public, working, or other facilities in cases when a situation requires advanced help and increases the survival rate. 

Namely, this law imposed three requirements that any person providing defibrillation with an AED must comply with:

  • They must have taken CPR and AED courses from a reliable and nationally recognized CPR certificate provider, such as the American Heart Association or Red Cross
  • The defibrillator must be technically right, preserved, and tested as instructed by the manufacturer (before using it on the casualty)
  • Bystanders using AED must turn off the emergency medical services system immediately.

As you may notice, there are no specifications about who may or may not use AED, a long-debated issue in Tennessee. Eventually, instead of limiting the persons using AED, Tennesse implemented the Good Samaritan Law.

The Good Samaritan Law

Tennessee is one of the states that passed the Good Samaritan Law. This law mainly protects a bystander who offered CPR to a casualty from any subsequent lawsuits. However, every bystander has to stick to the following components to claim the Good Samaritan Law:

  • Act in goodwill
  • Bring rational choices
  • The victim is in critical condition where using AED is the only option
  • The casualty does not object to the person offering CPR and AED
  • Expect nothing in return

Jobs that Require CPR Certification in Tennessee

According to research conducted by OSHA, 220,000 cardiac arrest casualties are reported in the US, while 10,000 cases of the total number occur in working environments which may end up fatally without providing first aid or CPR until the first responders arrive. To raise the survival chance rate and reduce fatal consequences, Tennessee has a broad list of jobs requiring CPR certifications and practical knowledge of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions in working environments. 

  • Child Workers: This includes all jobs involved in working with children. That is, babysitters, guardians, and social workers with children;
  • Sports Trainers & PA: Fitness trainers, sport-specific coaches, personal trainers or any other coach whose job requires working and guiding physical activities with young athletes;
  • Medical Staff: Any personnel working in medical facilities which have contact with patients must have a valid and active CPR certificate. That includes doctors, dentists, nurses, and even administrative workers such as accountants or receptionists.
  • Water Activities Coaches: Every person who guides or teaches students and young athletes in water activities must have an active CPR certification, including swimming instructors, water sports coaches, or any other aquatic activity.
  • Social Workers: Every charity volunteer or social worker whose job description involves working with the elderly, disabled, or in foster care must own an active CPR certificate.
  • First Responders: People working in stressful environments with physical and mental challenges must have an active CPR certificate and advanced skills in first aid. That is police officers, firefighters, emergency medical services (EMS), etc.
  • Construction Workers: Everyone working in the construction or manufacturing industry must have an active CPR certification.

Every employee working within the frames of the industries mentioned above must have an active CPR certificate verified by a reliable CPR certificate provider. Additionally, remember that CPR certificates have an expiration date of 2 years. Once the deadline is overdue, workers must renew their CPR certificate regularly.

CPR Regulations in the Educational System

As of 2011, Tennessee implements CPR and first aid in the junior and senior curriculums in high schools. This regulation does not require students to learn CPR for adults, children, and infants but must be familiar with the hands-on procedure of chest compressions and rescue breathing and how to make rational choices in critical conditions. 

Moreover, educational facilities must offer CPR instruction in class so that students can have more options. Currently, no rule requires the overall school staff in the public schools of Tennessee to have a CPR certificate. The majority of states adopted this law even before 2018.

CPR and Public Transport

The latest regulation and law related to sudden cardiac arrest and CPR working requirements was passed in 2022. As of April 2022, every bus driver must be skilled in providing CPR and first aid and be certified by a reliable and nationally recognized CPR certificate provider.

According to a local newspaper, this law was initiated by an unfortunate accident in which a 13-year-old boy named Tanner Lee Jameson lost his life due to sudden cardiac arrest during a basketball game. His mother believed that CPR and AED would have saved his life, and in his honor, she fought until she could facilitate the importance of CPR, AED, and first aid. Nowadays, Tennessee takes more action against sudden cardiac arrest cases by obliging people working in common areas where SCA occurred to have a certificate. That way, the SCA rate will significantly reduce.

CPR Regulations and Sports Coaches

Although most cardiac arrest cases in Tennessee are people in middle age, smokers, or obese, there are cases of young athletes that suffered the consequences of sudden cardiac arrest cases. After Tanner Lee Jameson lost his life back in 2008 due to a sudden cardiac arrest that occurred during a basketball game lost his life on the spot. No one offered them any help because no one knew how to respond in such a situation.

However, Tennessee’s Code has been amended, and as of July 2021, all regardless of if it comes for employees, or volunteers, must have a sudden cardiac arrest education program approved by the department. Moreover, all coaches must have completed the course and have the certificate no later than 90 days after they begin with the training service or volunteering. Additionally, coaches must obtain the required CPR certificate (from a reliable and nationally recognized organization) and renew the certificate regularly.

Tennesse State CPR Guidelines: Key Take Away

Tennessee used to be the fourth state with the highest number of cardiac arrest cases that ended fatally. In order to reduce the numbers, the state imposed new regulations such as Tennessee’s AED Legislature and the Good Samaritan Law.

Despite the initial laws, Tennessee enforced the CPR requirements and implemented taking mandatory CPR certificates. Moreover, learning the theory and practice of CPR is compulsory for all junior and senior students. All public schools in Tennessee included the CPR courses in high school curriculums requiring all students to pass the examination before graduation.

While teachers are still not obliged to have a CPR certification as a prerequisite to have a license, as with the other states in the US, Tennessee coaches must have an active and valid CPR certificate all year round. Public transportation staff also must have a CPR certificate. Sports fields and public transport are the most common areas where sudden cardiac arrest cases occur.

Fortunately, the state’s efforts to reduce cardiac diseases paid off well in the end. Today Tennessee takes the 41st place on the list of heart disease mortality rates in the US.