American Heart Month begins Wednesday

The American Heart Association encourages the public to “Be the Beat” and act in cardiac emergencies to help save lives.

During February — American Heart Month — the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives for all, is urging at least one person in every household to commit to learning Hands-Only CPR.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. This year’s American Heart Month activities are designed to help motivate people to “Be the Beat” needed to keep someone alive by learning the two simple steps it takes to save a life — call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

According to American Heart Association data, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year. 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.

Because about 70% of cardiac arrests happen at home, odds are the person who needs CPR will be a family member or friend. Hands-Only CPR is quick and simple to learn and can be performed by any family member or bystanders.

“If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of a loved one: A spouse, a parent, grandparent, child or a friend,” said Beth Keyser, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana.

“We are excited to support the American Heart Association’s Hands-Only CPR campaign and bring awareness to the importance of knowing CPR this Heart Month,” she said. “We encourage people to be prepared for a cardiac emergency by learning Hands-Only CPR to help save lives.”

Hands-Only CPR involves two simple steps, and anyone can learn it from a 60-second video available online at

Step 1: If a teen or adult in your home suddenly collapses, call 911 immediately.

Step 2: Place one hand on top of the other as shown in the video and push hard and fast on the victim’s chest.

Take advantage of CPR training kiosks as you travel. At Indianapolis International Airport and eight other locations throughout the country, Hands-Only CPR training kiosks are produced by the American Heart Association and supported by the Elevance Health Foundation. Each kiosk has a touchscreen with a short video that provides an overview of Hands-Only CPR, followed by a practice session and a 30-second test.

“The public can get trained in Hands-Only CPR in about 5 minutes while they are traveling,” Dr. Michelle Albert, president of the American Heart Association, said. “The kiosk has a practice manikin and provides feedback about the depth and rate of compression as well as proper hand placement, factors that influence the effectiveness of CPR.”

According to the American Heart Association, people feel more confident performing Hands-Only CPR and are more likely to remember the correct rate when trained to the beat of a familiar song. All songs in the American Heart Association’s “Don’t Drop the Beat” playlist are between 100 and 120 beats per minute, the same rate at which rescuers should perform compressions when administering CPR.

The beat of any of several songs, including “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira” or “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash, can “Be the Beat” to save a life.

Information about using only hands for CPR is on the website. It says anyone can learn Hands-Only CPR and save a life.