CPR and AED Awareness Week — Learn Hands-Only CPR to be ready in a cardiac emergency

National CPR and AED Awareness Week, June 1– 7, aims to raise awareness and increase the number of people who perform CPR in cardiac arrest emergencies. Each year, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. About 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. That’s why the American Heart Association – the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke – is highlighting the importance of bystander CPR. The AHA sets the guidelines for CPR used in the United States and worldwide.

Fieldstone Middle School students practice the steps they learned to save a life using Hands-Only CPR

When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby.  CPR, especially if performed immediately, can triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. Higher bystander CPR rates have been linked to greater survival rates after a cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating, or beats irregularly, not able to pump enough blood for survival.

Only about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives. Many Americans don’t perform CPR because they don’t know what to do or they are afraid of hurting the person. To help increase the likelihood of people performing CPR in an emergency, the Association recommends Hands-Only CPR, which has two easy steps. Step 1: Call 911. Step 2: Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives. Take 90 seconds to learn how to save a life at www.heart.org/HandsOnlyCPR

In the Hudson Valley, Active International is a Hands-Only CPR School Kit sponsor to help schools satisfy the state education requirement for the training for students prior to graduation. Students at Fieldstone Middle School in Thiels used the donated kit to learn Hands-Only CPR during their health course on June 6th. Students took turns performing chest compressions on mannequins to the beat of “Staying Alive.” The skill can be taught in one class period. It is training that will stay with them through adulthood ready if they ever encounter a cardiac emergency.

Hands-Only CPR kit donated by Active International to Fieldstone Middle School

Alice Schoen of Rye Brook knows the importance of bystander CPR. Her son Jordan collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest during a Blind Brook High School basketball game in December. He was saved with bystander CPR performed by a family friend—a doctor–sitting the stands, school athletic personnel, police, and eventually EMS workers. The team of rescuers used CPR and an automatic external defibrillator to resuscitate Jordan and save his life.

His mother realized the incredible luck and timing that helped save her son’s life. There assembled in that moment of chaos a doctor, police, trained athletic personnel, EMS—all professionally trained in CPR, all ready and trained to save a life. But she didn’t want to leave the next cardiac arrest victim’s life to be left to chance. “Tragedy can strike when you’re not prepared. I wanted to take the chance out of it,” said Schoen.

Fieldstone Middle School students learned Hands-Only CPR during CPR & AED Awareness Week

She went with Jordan to the Rye Brook Village Administrator to discuss CPR training for youth sport coaches and AED’s for the village parks. In May, after a dedicated effort of research and collaboration for the greater good, by the Village Administrator, local EMS, the recreation department and local police, the Village’s Cardiac Emergency Response Plan was created and adopted. The 10-page document defines cardiac arrest and the municipality’s response plan to help be prepared for this medical emergency. It includes AED locations, CPR instructions and training requirements for the coaches in the recreation leagues, including Little League.

“EMS and recreation staff put training programs together for coaches and set up classes. Little league coaching volunteers were given dates and village paid for the training,” she said. They also reviewed availability, access and signage for AED’s at the parks, “From Jordan’s experience, we came together as a community to get a fresh look at safety and being prepared to save a life.”

In 2009, the American Heart Association launched a nationwide Hands-Only CPR campaign to raise awareness about this life-saving skill. The campaign is supported nationally by an educational grant from the Anthem Foundation. Since 2012, nearly 10.1 million people have been trained in Hands-Only CPR via events, training kiosks and video education with the Anthem Foundation’s support. Starting in 2017, the American Heart Association partnered with leading organizations in the field of cardiac arrest to form the National Cardiac Arrest Collaborative, with the goal of promoting how to help in a cardiac arrest emergency.

 Additional Resources:

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 About American Heart Association CPR

As the world leader in CPR, first aid and emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) training and education, the American Heart Association offers a variety of options for you to find a course (opens new window) and learn lifesaving skills. Locate a local training center to become an AHA Instructor or to choose courses for family members and friends, employees, or healthcare providers.



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