CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) classes range from the traditional, wherein you have to attend classes from anywhere between four to six hours or online classes that have additional hands-on skill classes.
Most courses teach how to recognize an emergency, caring for conscious and unconscious choking victims, recognizing signs of a heart attack, rescue breathing and the basic techniques of adult CPR. Usually this includes an introduction on how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). The AED is most commonly found in airports and other public areas for those trained to use the device.
The Emergency Cardiovascular Programs Department of the American Heart Association (AHA) offers several courses.
The CPR Heartsaver and the AED course is intended for the general public and teaches the basic techniques of adult, child and infant CPR, how to use an AED, what barrier devices are and what to do for choking. The course teaches how to recognize the signs of four major emergencies: heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest and foreign-body airway obstruction. It also teaches ways to prevent many childhood emergencies.
The AHA’s BLS (Basic Life Support) Healthcare Provider includes adult and pediatric CPR, mouth to mask techniques, bag valve mask use, foreign-body airway obstruction and two-rescuer CPR.
The Heartsaver First Aid course teaches rescuers to effectively recognize and treat adult emergencies in the critical first minutes until emergency medical services personnel arrive. It also trains the lay rescuer or non-healthcare professional the proper techniques of emergency response and basic first aid. The management of common medical emergencies (diabetes, environmental, seizure, allergic reactions) and traumatic injuries (shock, burns, bleeding, fractures) are covered.
Several universities conduct weekend courses covering information about adult CPR and first aid. I took the courses through my local CERT organization. For those who have taken the courses, re-certification classes are also available. Ideally, you should check that classes are Nationally Recognized U.S. Govt. approved, and compliant with organizations like the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association ECC Guidelines.