Last year, I wrote about the importance of increasing awareness and education for Hands-Only CPR, in large part because each year in the US, there are an estimated 350,000 resuscitation attempts. Nearly 70% of those CPR events happen at home in the hands of a family member.

But there’s a particularly frightening wrinkle in this story: according to the American Heart Association, approximately 70% of people aren’t familiar with the basics of CPR, which means they feel helpless when called upon to save a life!

The response I received about this article was overwhelming, with readers asking why local community groups and school systems don’t help train our citizens. I even received a special request from my mom to make sure I both learn Hands-Only CPR and practice it daily, just in case! (Mom, I can be bribed!😎)

To better understand how to meaningfully increase education of Hands-Only CPR, I contacted local municipalities, government officials, and school systems. All parties were sincere in their desire to address this issue, however the circuitous talk about manpower and budget constraints made me realize that even with the best of intentions, very important matters are often put on the backburner. Unfortunately, in this case, that means lives will be lost.

On June 1st, the start of National CPR and AED Awareness Week, New York-Presbyterian Hospital decided to take matters into its own hands by launching a program entitled HandsOnly CPR, Everyone Can Save a Life.

Dr. Holly Andersen, a Preventative Cardiologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Director of Education and Outreach for the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute, says the goal of the program is to build community outreach in educating and training New Yorkers to take just one minute to learn the three basic steps of life-saving HandsOnly CPR – The 3 C’s: (1) Check, (2) Call and (3) Compress.

To provide people with easy access to Hands-Only CPR training, a short and very informative instructional video was produced and can be accessed through New York-Presbyterian’s special HandsOnly CPR website and also follow the @handsonlycpr account on Instagram and Facebook.

In addition to the HandsOnly CPR instructional video, people can learn important facts about cardiac issues in the U. S. while listening to the heartfelt words of Michael Kiernan, a man who was saved by CPR.

According to Andersen, cardiac arrest kills one person every two minutes. Without CPR, 92% die before making it to the hospital and, for every minute spent without CPR, the chance of survival decreases by 10%.

New York-Presbyterian is passionate about the HandsOnly CPR, Everyone Can Save a Life program and the importance of expansive community outreach; their goal is to create a movement whereby people feel confident enough to help others in the case of emergency.

Let’s call this effort paying it forward. New York-Presbyterian is offering New Yorkers an opportunity to quickly and effectively learn Hands-Only CPR and then use social media to share the HandsOnly CPR video and information to family and friends, all with the goal of saving lives! Participants can easily access this 30 second instructional video by using the “HandsOnly CPR (30 seconds)” link and downloading it to their personal Facebook page.

This type of community-driven movement can deliver amazing results. This has been demonstrated in Seattle and King County where cardiac emergency survival rates are among the highest in the country…largely because 75% of its citizens are able to provide CPR if needed.

According to Dr. Graham Nichol, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, a key contributor to this success is due to the commitment that the community made to educating and teaching the basics of Hands-Only CPR. In fact, in these communities, knowing CPR is considered a Public Duty!

There is no metro area where proper administration of Hands-Only CPR is more important than in New York City. With the largest metropolitan area population in the country and increasingly congested streets making emergency response times more challenging than ever, New York’s crowded conditions contribute to lower survival rates for individuals who aren’t treated immediately with CPR.

The HandsOnly CPR program already has it share of active advocates. Actress Nicole Kidman is showing her support for the campaign alongside many notable New Yorkers who have joined her. New York-Presbyterian invites everyone to be part of this life-saving movement. It only takes 60 seconds, but those 60 seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

Dr. Andersen and all of the New York-Presbyterian community believe the HandsOnly CPR campaign will prevent needless deaths each year by empowering people to take action. I couldn’t agree more. Please participate!

Help yourself. Help others.