About 30 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims received immediate help in the form of bystander CPR in Los Angeles County last year. Many people 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 American Heart Association recommends Hands-Only CPR, which will be taught to Los Angeles County residents at 36 locations across the county during Sidewalk CPR Day on June 5. The County of Los Angeles Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department and the Association are coordinating free Hands-Only CPR trainings on this annual day.
Last year, more than 5,300 people in the county learned how to save a life in just a few minutes with a quick CPR lesson from local firefighters and medical professionals during Sidewalk CPR Day. This year, the goal is to train 7,000 people. Hands-Only CPR has two steps, performed in this order: when you see a teen or adult collapse, call 911; then, push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives.
Emergency responders attend to cardiac arrest calls daily throughout Los Angeles County. In 2017, there were 6,553 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, according to the Los Angeles County EMS Agency. As of late April 2018, nearly 2,500 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidents have occurred with bystander CPR administered to 34 percent of victims.
“Every second counts in cardiac arrest, which is why bystanders are absolutely critical in an emergency,” said Cathy Chidester, RN, MSN, who is Director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency. “It’s evident that the public is understanding the importance of CPR because the EMS Agency has observed an increase in the number of patients receiving bystander CPR when paramedics arrive. But we still need to do more to educate Los Angeles County residents about Hands-Only CPR, and Sidewalk CPR day is one important way we can train future lifesavers so they’ll feel empowered to act if they witness a cardiac emergency.”
About 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die, according to the American Heart Association. 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.
“Most people feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or are afraid of hurting the victim,” said Julie Carruthers, board member, American Heart Association Los Angeles County Division. “Our message is, do not be afraid. Your actions can only help. We hope Angelenos will take advantage of the free trainings.”
Among the sites providing Hands-Only CPR training on Sidewalk CPR Day is Universal CityWalk where park visitors and Los Angeles County residents will learn this important skill via interactive sessions set to music at 5 Towers Stage. With the support of the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, participants will practice Hands-Only CPR using songs that are 100 to 120 beats per minutes, which is the rate you should push on the chest during CPR. A press conference will also be held that highlights the importance of learning Hands-Only CPR to help save lives.
“The Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is committed to supporting important initiatives that can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve,” said Manan Shah, General Manager of Individual Commercial Business at Anthem Blue Cross. “With 70 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home, a person will likely be trying to save the life of someone they know and love. Our training with the American Heart Association and local agencies is a valuable way to provide greater access to learn this life-saving skill and help meet the Association’s goal to double bystander response by 2020.”