During February—American Heart Month—the American Heart Association urges at least one person in every household to commit to learning Hands-Only CPR. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. This year’s American Heart Month 2023 activities are designed to help motivate people to “Be the Beat” needed to keep someone alive by learning the two simple steps it takes to save a life—call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival—which is key since nationally about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. And, because about 70 percent of cardiac arrests happen at home, odds are the person who needs CPR will be a family member or friend. Hands-Only CPR is quick and simple to learn and can be performed by any family member or bystanders.
“If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of a loved one—a spouse, a parent, grandparent, child or a friend,” said American Heart Association volunteer ambassador Kyra Smithlin of Puyallup. “I will forever be grateful that my son and husband called 911 and performed CPR the day my heart stopped.”
Hands-Only CPR involves two simple steps, which anyone can learn it from a 60-second video available at heart.org/handsonlycpr.
- Step 1: If a teen or adult in your home suddenly collapses, call 911 immediately.
- Step 2: Place one hand on top of the other as shown in the video and push hard and fast on the victim’s chest.
Take advantage of our CPR training kiosks as you travel. You’ll find one at the central terminal of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and eight other locations throughout the country. Each kiosk has a touch screen with a short video that provides an overview of Hands-Only CPR, followed by a practice session and a 30-second test.
According to the American Heart Association, people feel more confident performing Hands-Only CPR and are more likely to remember the correct rate when trained to the beat of a familiar song. All songs in our ‘Don’t Drop the Beat’ playlist are between 100–120 beats per minute, the same rate at which rescuers should perform compressions when administering CPR. The beat of any of several songs including “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees,” or “Walk the Line,” by Johnny Cash can “Be the Beat” to save a life.
Visit heart.org/handsonlycpr to watch and share the American Heart Association’s Hands-Only CPR instructional video. Be the beat and help save a life!
Contributor Francesca Minas is Senior Marketing Communications Director with American Heart Association, Puget Sound.
Photo credit (top): Bystander reenactment with four people in a park reacting to a woman who collapsed. One woman is calling 9-1-1 while another is starting CPR. Copyright American Heart Association 2022. Used with permission.