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‘Call 9-1-1 and Push Hard and Fast in the Center of the Chest’

Carolyn Powell says CPR saved her life, and gave her the chance to go to American Heart Association events with her family. (Carolyn Powell)
Carolyn Powell says CPR saved her life, and gave her the chance to go to American Heart Association events with her family. (Carolyn Powell)
June 7, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. - CPR is simple, just call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

And CPR saves lives like Carolyn Powell's. Powell is a Mechanicsville mother whose heart stopped while she was checking on her son one night, seven years ago. Her husband heard their son crying and found her collapsed on their son's bed.

"Not breathing, without a pulse and I was bluish-gray," says Carolyn Powell. "He quickly called 911 and immediately started CPR. If he wasn't there, and if he didn't know how to do CPR, I wouldn't be here today."

According to Richmond Ambulance Authority training manager Shannon Daniel, almost all cardiac arrests happen at home.

"That gives you chance that you would be doing CPR on a loved one," says Daniel. "Dial 911 to get EMS en route. Heel of your hands, and you're going to place that in the nipple-line center of the chest. And you're going to press hard and fast."

Daniel says it's important to push hard enough to compress the chest at least two inches, and lift your hands back up to let the blood rush back into the heart. She says push to the beat of the Bee Gees' song 'Staying Alive' until help arrives.

Powell says not only did CPR save her life, but just recently, a neighborhood friend used it to save her husband.

"Her husband collapsed and had a cardiac arrest, and she had to do CPR on him," says Powell. "And she saved his life. You never know when you'll need it, but it is so important to know."


June 1 through June 7 is National CPR Week. There are 60-second CPR demonstration videos online at heart.org/handsonlycpr.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA