Female instructors demonstrating chest compressions on a CPR dummy with defibrillator . Courtesy photo/Getty Images

During February – American Heart Month – the American Heart Association, a voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives for all, is urging all Maine families to learn the lifesaving skill of CPR. With more than 350,0000 people experiencing cardiac arrests outside of a hospital, including 23,000 children, CPR is a critical skill that kids as young as 9 years old can learn, according to the AHA.

Joining the Nation of Lifesavers, an American Heart Association initiative focused on doubling the survival rate of cardiac arrest by 2030 is easier than ever with many learning options available to families. In Maine, families can take an online CPR course, learn and practice Hands-Only CPR with a CPR Anytime® Training Kit, watching a 60-second video to learn Hands-Only CPR, or find a Heartsaver™ certification course near them.

“If you are called to respond in a cardiac emergency, knowing CPR may save the life of someone you love,” said Brian Shankey, executive director for the association in Northern New England. “We are committed to extending the chain of survival in Maine through education because the power to save a life is in each of our hands.”

There are three main types of CPR: Traditional, Child and Infant and Hands-Only.

• Traditional CPR is the method that combines chest compressions 2 inches in depth at the rate of 100-120 beats per minute with two breaths.

• Infant and Child CPR is similar to traditional CPR but has some key differences. Child CPR is performed with chest compressions at the depth of two inches with one or two hands, followed by two breaths. Infant CPR is performed with chest compressions at the dept of 1 1/2 inches with two fingers, followed by two breaths and repeat.

• Hands-Only CPR is chest compression-only CPR and has been shown to be equally effective as traditional CPR in the first few minutes of emergency response. It involves two simple steps that anyone can learn from a 60-second video available at heart.org/handsonlycpr.  Step 1 is to call 911 and Step 2 is to push hard and fast in the center of the chest

CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival – which is key since about 90% of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die, according to the AHA. For more information on how to join the Nation of Lifesavers this February, visit heart.org/nation.

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