Learn to Save a Life

Hard and fast; 100 compressions per minute. That’s how you should administer chest compressions to someone who is having a heart attack.

Learning to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is super easy. And, the County Health and Human Services Agency and about a dozen organizations will be teaching people how to do it on Wednesday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free “Sidewalk CPR” trainings will be offered at about 25 locations throughout the region.

The goal is to train 4,000 people to perform hands-only CPR on adults.

“A cardiac arrest is a life-or-death situation,” said Chairman Ron Roberts, County Board of Supervisors. “Everyone should learn how to do hands-only CPR. It only takes a few minutes.”

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 recommends doing just hands-only CPR. View a video demonstration of Hands-Only CPR .

“CPR can save someone who collapses from cardiac arrest. The key is to give CPR immediately by someone nearby,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Unfortunately, about 60 percent of people who suffer a heart attack at home, at work or in public never get CPR before professional help arrives because bystanders usually don’t know how to administer it.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1. Approximately 395,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, in which only 11 percent survive.

The annual “Sidewalk CPR Day” is part of the County’s Live Well San Diego vision, 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 2015, nearly 2,600 people were trained to do hands-only CPR during “Sidewalk CPR Day.”

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


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