In celebration of National Heart Month, the Los Angeles County Departments of Public Health, Health Services, and Fire are partnering with the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross and the Los Angeles Fire Department to train 100,000 individuals in Hands-Only CPR, a free, fast, and easy-to-learn form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The campaign, called “Heart Heroes,” draws attention to the role that each person can play in providing life-saving assistance in an emergency.
In Los Angeles County, 54,166 people die prematurely each year from heart disease, making heart disease the leading cause of death and premature death in the county.
According to the American Heart Association, approximately 90 percent of people die after suffering cardiac arrest (unexpected stop in heart function) outside of a hospital setting. If performed immediately, CPR can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.
“National Heart Month reminds us of the importance of regularly participating in heart-healthy activities because an active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart disease,” said LA County First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, but we can change that becoming more active in our daily lives. During National Heart Month, we can take advantage of the Hands-Only CPR courses available to us. Since many people know of someone who has suffered from heart disease, or they themselves may be affected by heart disease, it is vital that we all are prepared in case of an emergency.”
“Anyone can become a Heart Hero and learn the lifesaving skill of Hands-Only CPR,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, director of the county Department of Public Health. “Since nearly seventy percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes, it is very likely that someone called on to give CPR in an emergency would actually be trying to save the life of someone they know.”
“The Los Angeles County Fire Department encourages all residents to be part of our emergency response team by becoming a Heart Hero,” said Chief Daryl L. Osby. “As proud protectors of life, property, and the environment, our firefighters do everything we can to help people when they need us most. But sudden cardiac arrest can happy anytime, anywhere. Receiving immediate Hands-Only CPR can double and even triple a victim’s likelihood of survival. Knowing how to provide Hands-Only CPR can help you save a loved one’s life while firefighters are on their way.”
“Hands-only CPR saves lives, and DHS is incredibly proud to be a partner in this lifesaving effort to train individuals across our communities,” said Christina R. Ghaly, MD, director of the LA County Department of Health Services. “Please join us in spreading the word and encouraging others to be trained.”
“The Los Angeles Fire Department is proud to partner with all of the agencies involved in the Heart Heroes initiative, but the most important partnership, is with the public,” said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas. “Without our residents’ willingness to learn and use these simple skills during an emergency, we would not be able to accomplish our collective goal of saving lives.”
“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 John Harold, MD, Board President of the American Heart Association Los Angeles County Division, and Cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “Our message is simple, do not be afraid. Your actions can only help. We hope Angelenos will take advantage of the free training that will only take a few minutes of your time and have such a powerful impact.”
“Most people who survive a cardiac emergency are helped by a bystander,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO, American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “Recent research has shown that Hands-Only CPR can be effective in caring for a person with no signs of life when a rescuer is unable, untrained, or unwilling to perform Full CPR. It requires basic training and practice, but no formal certification. Our online courses are the first place to learn Hands-Only CPR – so you can be the bystander who provides life-saving care until professional responders arrive.”
Hands-Only CPR is performed by pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest, without using mouth-to-mouth breaths like traditional CPR. Hands-Only CPR focuses on the first few minutes following cardiac arrest. Frequent chest compressions move oxygen through the body to keep the brain and other vital organs alive, helping buy time until help arrives.
For more information on Hands-Only CPR and to find local training, visit the Public Health website at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/heart.