National CPR & AED Awareness Week

Would you know what to do if you witnessed a cardiac emergency?  A recent survey suggests that 70 percent of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they’re afraid of hurting the victim.  In honor of National CPR and AED Awareness Week, June 1-7, the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association, along with local health organizations in the Greater Utica area, are offering free Hands-Only CPR trainings throughout the week.

“Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs,” says Dr. Jennifer Carbone Zuccaro, president of the Greater Utica area American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. Each year, over 326,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the U.S. and only 10 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survive.

Training sessions will be held Tuesday, June 2nd through Friday, June 5th at varying locations and times. You can learn Hands-Only CPR in less than 30 minutes, but most sessions are open for two to three hours. Training sessions are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, June 2nd
Oneida Healthcare Center
321 Genesee Street, Oneida
Contact: (315) 361-2196

Gary Kiefer demonstrates Hands-Only CPR
Gary Kiefer demonstrates Hands-Only CPR

Wednesday, June 3rd
Slocum-Dickson Medical Group
1729 Burrstone Road, New Hartford
Contact: (315) 798-1885

Thursday, June 4th
The Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter, Turin Site
6138 West Main Street, Turin
Contact: (315) 272-1532

Thursday, June 4th
Herkimer Health Center
321 E. Albany Street, Herkimer
Contact: 867-2700

Friday, June 5th
AO Fox Care Center
1 FoxCare Drive, Oneonta
Contact: (607) 431-5009

Friday, June 5th
Rome Memorial Hospital
1500 N. James Street, Rome
Contact: (315) 338-7143

According to the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association, 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes and residential settings.  Therefore, if you are called on to give CPR in a cardiac emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love.  CPR, especially when performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

Hands-Only CPR has just two simple steps: If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, (1) Call 9-1-1; and (2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.  During CPR, you should push on the chest at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute.  To easily keep this rate, push the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive.”

Representatives from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and Infant CPR program community partners
Representatives from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and infant CPR program community partners

The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association, along with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, is also helping young mothers learn Infant CPR. Through a sponsorship with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, several local organizations are working together to reach families. Those groups include The Neighborhood Center, Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Kids Oneida, Evelyn’s House, and Mohawk Valley Community Action

Agency. Each organization will receive information and demonstrations on lifesaving CPR for infants and children. The program also include the opportunity to provide Infant CPR training kits to these organizations.

“For a new mother, nothing could be more terrifying than helplessly watching your infant stop breathing,” said Eve Van de Wal, regional president for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “This new training program will provide expectant mothers in our community with life-saving skills to give their babies a better chance of survival in case of a cardiac or choking event.”

“By empowering bystanders to perform Hands-Only CPR, the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association works to strengthen the chain of survival – a five-step process that can mean the difference between life and death for someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest,” asserts Dr. Zuccaro.  The critical bystander links for the chain of survival include calling 9-1-1, early CPR and early defibrillation.

To watch the Hands-Only CPR instructional video and share it with your friends and family, visit  You can also find a CPR class near you.

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