Mayors Join AHA Program to Expand Hands-Only CPR

The new program will award up to 1,000 CPR Anytime kits to each of five cities, the American Heart Association announced.

The American Heart Association and a coalition of U.S. mayors have launched a program to train thousands of people on Hands-Only CPR. AHA and Cities of Service, the mayors' group, said the program supports the implementation of the Cities of Service Volunteer CPR Blueprint, which calls for volunteers trained by professionals to teach CPR to at least five other residents. In addition, five cities will each be awarded up to 1,000 CPR Anytime kits.

Nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States, and 89 percent of those individuals die because they don't receive immediate CPR from someone nearby. AHA says Hands-Only CPR can change that by teaching Americans two easy steps: If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, (1) Call 911 and (2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the Bee Gees' song "Stayin' Alive." Doing this can double or triple the victim's chance of surviving, according to AHA.

"The more people who are trained in CPR, the more lifesavers we have in communities who can act as first responders when citizens go into cardiac arrest," said Donna Arnett, Ph.D., the AHA president. "We are confident that the distribution of these 5,000 training kits will help us reach our goal to double bystander CPR response and survival from cardiac arrest by 2020."

The Volunteer CPR Blueprint is making progress. AHA's announcement said more than 119,000 New York City residents have been trained in CPR, and more than 13,000 residents of Houston have been trained. "Dramatically increasing the number of citizens trained in Hands-Only CPR through this volunteer-fueled initiative can help a city improve its cardiac arrest survival rates and enhance emergency preparedness," said Katie Leonberger, who manages the Cities of Service coalition. "We are thrilled to partner with the American Heart Association to help more mayors pursue this high-impact service strategy."

To apply for one of the grants, a city must be a member of the Cities of Service coalition and must submit an online proposal that meets the objectives of the Volunteer CPR Blueprint. Grants are available for cities located in the following 14 states (plus two markets in Texas: Austin and Houston): California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. The deadline to apply is Sept. 17, and the five selected cities will be notified in October.

The training kit grant program is part of AHA's Hands-Only CPR campaign, which is supported by a three-year, $4.5 million grant from the WellPoint Foundation.

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