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Virginians Urged to Learn CPR on World Restart a Heart Day

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021   

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Last month, a health researcher in the Washington, D.C., area gave CPR to a man suffering a heart attack on a local bike trail. Now he is using his experience to put a spotlight on World Restart A Heart Day on Saturday.

Bryan Buckley said he and a friend were biking when they saw a man in his late 60s drop to the ground. As a former lifeguard, he knew starting CPR quickly can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival.

"We were the first responders, and I looked to my buddy and said, 'You call 911,'" Buckley recounted. "And then the lifeguard in me, it all came back like it was yesterday. We ended up doing CPR, switching between three of us over about 15 to 20 minutes. And you know, in many ways, that ended up saving that man's life."

He emphasized bystander CPR is more important than ever because research shows survival of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has dropped by 14% in 2020 compared with about 10% the year before. Go to Heart.org/HandsOnlyCPR to find out more about learning the life-saving procedure.

The Restart a Heart initiative aims to boost bystander CPR rates worldwide by encouraging folks to learn hands-only CPR. Buckley pointed out each year, more than 350,000 Americans experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and about 90% of them die.

"There's also the importance of making sure that when people do call 911 that we can have the folks on the phone be able to walk people through CPR," Buckley urged. "That's one of the things I've become very passionate about."

In 2020, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law requiring all state 911 dispatchers to complete telephone CPR education by July 2024.

The Commonwealth joins six other states, including Maryland, Louisiana and West Virginia, that require telephone CPR training for dispatchers. The American Heart Association is encouraging people to join them as advocates for this type of critical legislation in other states.

Disclosure: American Heart Association Mid Atlantic Affiliate contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, and Smoking Prevention. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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