Alexandria, LA – With cardiac arrests making headlines all over the country – with the most recent story being Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills - CPR is making headlines, too.

More than 350,000 Americans will experience cardiac arrest this year. And 90 percent of the cardiac arrests that occur outside of a hospital environment will be fatal – because not enough people know CPR.

That’s why Rapides Regional Medical Center will hold two “Hands-Only CPR Demonstrations,” from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital on Saturday, Feb. 11 and again on Saturday, Feb. 25.  During this free event, participants will be able to practice hands-only CPR. A cardiologist will also be available to answer heart-health questions.

“For years, CPR was taught and promoted with chest compressions and alternating rescue breathing,” said Theresa Hood, RN, BSN, Director of Education at Rapides Regional Medical Center. “Studies have shown, however, that hands-only CPR, with compressions only, can be just as effective in the first few minutes as conventional CPR when a cardiac arrest occurs at work or home.”

Over 70 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home. And if that happens, there are two things you can do to help:

1 – Call 911 if you see a teen or adult collapse suddenly.

2 – Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of a familiar song that has 100 to 120 beats per minute.

“Hands-Only CPR is specifically for teens or adults,” Hood said. “This is not something to be used for an infant or child. But no matter the age of the person, you should immediately call 911. The person on the other end of the line will talk you through next steps until help arrives.

“The idea of performing CPR on someone you love can be overwhelming. That’s why events like this, where you can practice compressions on a CPR mannikin, can be really helpful. The more you practice, the more comfortable and effective you will be if you need to perform CPR.”

February is national American Heart Month, a time when all can focus on their cardiovascular health. For a complete listing of various heart health activities, please visit our Rapides Regional Medical Center Facebook page.