Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nonprofits and Staff – Save a Life With AHA & Hands-Only™ CPR

I have joined the American Heart Association and the Ad Council to save a life in their Hands-Only CPR Campaign. Hands-Only CPR, or CPR without mouth-to-mouth breathing, is a two-step technique that involves calling 9-1-1 and pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest until professional help arrives. The Ad Council and American Heart Association recently launched a national multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign that encourages bystanders to use Hands-Only CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) when an adult collapses and is unresponsive. When an adult has a sudden cardiac arrest, his or her survival depends greatly on immediately getting CPR from someone nearby. Unfortunately, less than 1/3 of those people who experience a cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location get that help. Most bystanders are worried that they might do something wrong or make things worse. That’s why the AHA has simplified things.

During a cardiac arrest, the heart suddenly stops beating normally and the victim collapse into unconsciousness. Oxygen-rich blood stops circulating. Without quick action, such as immediate CPR, a victim of cardiac arrest can die within four to six minutes. Every day, nearly 800 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospitals, according to the AHA, and less than 10 percent will survive to hospital discharge. However, studies show providing CPR to an adult who has collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest can more than double or triple that person's chance of survival. Nonprofits and their staff can help one another, families, customers and others by learning this easy but vital life-saving task.

A brief video simply and candidly demonstrates how to do it beginning with calling 9-1-1 and using your hands only. Hands-Only CPR, or CPR without mouth-to-mouth breathing, is a two-step technique that involves calling 9-1-1 and pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest until professional help arrives. Forty-four percent of adults say they would not perform CPR because they're not confident in their ability, according to a national AHA survey conducted in 2008. Consumer research also shows that people often hesitate because they're not comfortable with giving mouth-to-mouth CPR. Well, there is an alternative method now that we can use to save a life.

The PSAs — distributed to about 33,000 media outlets nationwide this week - will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media. An integrated social media program will extend the reach of the PSA campaign online with strategies designed to engage and educate adults throughout the country. See additional RESOURCES at the end of this blog article.

Through the Hands-Only CPR campaign, the American Heart Association and Ad Council hope to reach all adults, particularly women age 55 years and older who are most likely to be the spouses of potential victims.

Hands-OnlyTM CPR is recommended for use on teens or adults (anyone over the age of 8) whom you witness suddenly collapse.

Don’t be afraid. Your actions can only help.

It’s not normal to see an adult suddenly collapse, but if you do, call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest. Don’t be afraid. Your actions can only help. Take a minute and look around this site and invite your friends! Increasing the number of people who know about Hands-Only CPR will increase the chance that someone can help when an adult suddenly collapses, and more lives can be saved.

Adults who suddenly collapse and are not responsive are likely to have sudden cardiac arrest and their chance of survival is nearly zero unless someone takes action immediately. If sudden cardiac arrest is the cause of the collapse, Hands-OnlyTM CPR is an easy, effective way for any bystander to more than double the victim's chance for survival. If an adult has collapsed for reasons other than sudden cardiac arrest, Hands-Only CPR could still help by causing the person to respond (begin to move, breathe normally or speak). If that occurs, Hands-OnlyTM CPR can be stopped. Otherwise, chest compressions should continue until EMS providers arrive.

Check out this video to see Hands-Only CPR in action.

If you ARE CONFIDENT in your ability to provide CPR that includes breaths with high-quality chest compressions with minimal interruptions, then provide either the conventional CPR that you learned OR Hands-Only CPR

If you ARE NOT CONFIDENT in your ability to provide CPR that includes breaths with high-quality chest compressions with minimal interruptions, then provide Hands-Only CPR

In both cases, continue Hands-Only CPR until an AED arrives and is ready for use or EMS providers take over care of the victim.

"Hands-Only CPR is an easy and effective technique that has the potential to save lives every day if we can educate more Americans about it and reduce their fears and hesitation," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council.

"This new campaign beautifully depicts the power of hands in helping to save a life," Conlon said. "I believe it will empower more bystanders to take action when they see someone in cardiac arrest."

"For years the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest has been abysmal," said Clyde Yancy, M.D., American Heart Association president. "Bystanders hold the key to increasing survival. We hope this campaign will break through the barriers people have when they see someone in cardiac arrest – so that anyone who hears this message can help save a life."

Created pro bono by Gotham Inc., an ad agency in New York, the campaign includes television, radio, print, outdoor and Web PSAs. The PSAs direct audiences to visit, where they can gain access to information and resources on the technique, including an instructional video.

Visitors to the Web site can also download a free instructional application for their smartphone that teaches the technique. The application is available on the iPhone and iPod touch, Blackberry, Palm Pre and Android (Google) platforms.

"It's a rare occasion when advertising can help save lives," said Peter McGuinness, CEO of Gotham. "We hope that through this campaign, we can encourage all bystanders, trained or untrained, to do something when they see an adult suddenly collapse."

American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, it is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers — they fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join them in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

The Ad Council

The Ad Council ( is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.


Gotham's 160 employees service the integrated communication needs of clients in fashion and beauty, retail, healthcare, financial services, and packaged goods categories. Clients include: Lindt, Fresh Direct,, Sony Ericsson, Best Western, Maybelline, Remington, RSM McGladrey, Newman's Own and Wedgwood. For more information, visit

I want to thank Lauren Sammak for asking me to help through my nonprofit/philanthropy contacts. It is my pleasure.

Lauren Sammak

Manager, Digital Publicity, Fanscape, Inc.
360 N. La Cienega Blvd., 3rd Fl.
Los Angeles, CA



Hands-Only CPR Frequently Asked Questions

Hands-Only CPR Gets Thumbs Up - Not Trained in Conventional CPR? Chest Compressions Alone Could Save Someone in Cardiac Arrest By Kelley Colihan March 31, 2008 WebMD Health News

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