In one year alone, 436,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest. CPR and AED awareness are recognized in June to emphasize the importance of these life-saving skills and encourage more people to learn them. The American Heart Association wants more Tennesseans to learn the proper techniques for performing CPR and using an AED effectively.
Dr. Katherine Brown, founder of Learn CPR America, LLC, and an AHA volunteer, says more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital each year, and when someone can start CPR immediately, it can double or triple a person’s chances of survival.
“So, if you see them collapsed – they’re not breathing, they’re not responding – you want to do the two steps of hands only CPR which are to call 911,” she explained. “Push hard and fast in the center of the chest, and use the familiar song to help you keep the pace of 100 and 120 beats in a minute.”
Brown added research shows that Black and Hispanic people are less likely to receive bystander CPR. And women are also less likely to receive CPR, partly because people fear accusations about touching or sexual assault, or injuring the person.
Brown knows firsthand the importance of CPR, as she had to use it on her mother. She points out that she has been working with the American Heart Association for over 30 years, traveling across the globe to raise awareness of CPR and empower people to respond effectively during cardiac emergencies.
“I’m on a journey to do, is to make sure that we challenge everybody to know CPR, and increase their awareness of using the automated external defibrillator,” she said. “And that should be part of everyone’s summer safety plan – but also they’re year-round, 365 days a year CPR.”
Brown added they use the acronym ‘FAST’ to recognize the warning signs of stroke. ‘F’ is for face and signs of it drooping. ‘A’ is for arms, looking for signs that one arm is dropping when raised. ‘S’ is for speech, which may be slurred. And ‘T’ stands for time to call 911 if any of these signs are present.