Health

Classic Song Can Save Lives

You’ve probably heard the song. But if you haven’t heard the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive,” you should probably listen to it since its beat could help you save a life.

How you ask?

It’s simple and on Thursday, June 4, you’ll be able to learn from trained professionals how this 70s hit can help you administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The County Health and Human Services Agency and about a dozen organizations will be conducting free “Sidewalk CPR” trainings from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at about 20 locations throughout the region.

The goal is to train 4,000 people to perform hands-only CPR on adults as part of National CPR and AED Awareness Week.

“A person who collapses from cardiac arrest is more likely to survive if CPR is administered immediately by someone nearby,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Unfortunately, only about 39 percent of people who suffer a heart attack at home, work or in public receives CPR from a bystander before professional help arrives.”

Learning how to do hands-only CPR is super easy. All you have to do is administer chest compressions with both hands to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” until help arrives. That’s about 100 compressions per minute.

“I encourage everyone to get hands-only CPR training,” said County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “It only takes a few minutes to learn but can make the difference in a life-or-death situation.”

CPR used to include giving mouth-to-mouth breathing in combination with pushing down hard and fast on someone’s chest. However, the American Heart Association simplified the procedure to make it much easier for people to learn and now just recommends doing hands-only CPR. A video demonstration of Hands-Only CPR can be viewed here.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 326,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, and 90 percent of them die.

The annual “Sidewalk CPR Day” is part of the County’s Live Well San Diego initiative, which aims to improve the health and safety of local residents.

The event is organized by the HHSA, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, San Diego Project Heart Beat and several other agencies. In 2014, over 3,100 people were trained to do hands-only CPR during “Sidewalk CPR Day.”

If you already know CPR, health officials urge you to download the PulsePoint, a new smartphone application which lets people train in CPR know when their help is needed. 

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact