Knowing Hands-Only CPR is Even More Relevant Throughout a Pandemic

American Heart Association urges the public to learn CPR during CPR and AED Awareness Week

MISSOURI — Without CPR, Bobby Ballard of Joplin, Missouri, wouldn’t be alive today. Bobby had just finished a three-mile run when he had a heart attack. Thankfully, one of Bobby’s running partners recognized his symptoms and started CPR while another called 911. Today, Bobby is a running coach who competes in marathons.

More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year, with about 70% happening in homes. Each year, June 1-7 is designated as National CPR and AED Awareness Week and this year, the significance is especially striking.

As most Americans continue to spend more of their time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the odds of cardiac arrests in a home setting are likely to increase, according to the American Heart Association. Fortunately, Hands-Only CPR can be performed by family or household members. During a pandemic, household members may be the lowest risk providers of CPR at home because they have likely already been exposed if in fact the cardiac arrest victim has COVID-19.

“As a recipient of CPR, I have been given nine more birthdays, nine more anniversaries, nine more Christmases and hopefully many more. If you don’t think learning CPR can make a difference in someone’s life, I’m here to tell you it can! Hands-only CPR and stents, both developed thanks to research funded by the American Heart Association, saved my life,” said Bobby Ballard.

Hands-Only CPR involves two simple steps and anyone can learn it from a 90-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.

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. Rescuers should push on the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute and the American Heart Association advises following the beat of any of several songs including “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees, “Crazy in Love,” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Hips Don’t Lie,” by Shakira” or “Walk the Line,” by Johnny Cash.

Take advantage of shelter-in-place time and brush up on your Hands-Only CPR skills; they might save someone you love. Visit heart.org/handsonlycpr to watch and share the Hands-Only CPR instructional video.

Additional Resources: 

• Take 90 seconds to learn how to save a life at heart.org/HandsOnlyCPR 

• Download free materials to help celebrate CPR and AED Awareness Week at heart.org/CPRWeek