Results from a citizen CPR project are presented, in particular those concerning the deficiencies of CPR education. First, the sociodemographic characteristics of trainees do not meet the requirements of cardiac emergencies, since trainees typically are young and male, whereas the typical bystander is an elderly woman. As a consequence, bystander CPR is initiated in only a small proportion of witnessed emergencies. Secondly, knowledge and skills decrease dramatically as little as 6 months after training. Although a quality of performance somewhat below AHA standards may still improve a patient's prognosis, the need for regular retraining must be emphasized. Thirdly, this need is underlined when looking at factors influencing the superior complex of competence: frequent and regular participation in qualified training increases comprehensive competence, which is a pre-condition for helping behaviour. Fourthly, awareness of the central telephone number to activate the EMS has to be promoted. And, fifthly, every single link of the chain of survival; efforts aimed at improving citizen CPR training must be accompanied by efforts aimed at early access and the quality of EMS service, tailored to regional or local structures.