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Mayor Bowser Launches “Hands on Hearts” CPR Training for DC Residents

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Campaign to train 5,000 people a year on life-saving, hands-only CPR

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser launched a “Hands on Hearts” initiative to train 5,000 people in hands-only CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED) by September 2016.  Hands-only CPR is a technique that involves chest compressions without artificial respiration. Studies indicate that hands-only CPR performed immediately can increase a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

“With the right training, anyone can save a life,” said Mayor Bowser. “That is why the District is committed to training residents in life-saving, hands-only CPR.  A 20 minute training could make the difference between life and death for a friend, family member or stranger who needs care before emergency medical services are able to respond.” 

The initiative is a partnership between the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (DCFEMS), ServeDC, the American Heart Association of Greater Washington (AHA), American Red Cross, Serve DC and other partners.  DCFEMS and partner organizations will offer free, 20 minute classes on hands-only CPR and AED awareness.  The training instructs participants to focus on their hand placement, tempo and the number of compressions for two minute intervals.

“It’s important for participants to understand the basics and how to properly perform each step,” said DCFEMS Chief Gregory M. Dean. “Having the right training before first responders arrive can and will save lives right here in the District.”

For information on how to sign up for a free training, visit the Citizens CPR Program page.

"We are very pleased to be a partner on this important, life-saving program," said Linda Mathes, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region. "Safety is all about preparation and being ready to put this type of training to work when someone is in need."

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death that mostly affects people in their homes.

“The recent update to AHA guidelines for CPR and emergency cardiovascular care highlight how quick action, proper training, use of technology and coordinated efforts can significantly increase survival from cardiac arrest,” said Soula Antoniou, Vice President and Executive Director of the AHA Greater Washington Region. “Survival rates can be doubled or tripled if immediate CPR and other actions are initiated by bystanders.”

“The residents who need this information the most are sometimes the hardest to reach,” said Kristal Knight, Executive Director of Serve DC, the Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism.  “We will reach those residents in their communities so that people in each ward are prepared to help in an emergency.”