MARQUETTE — The American Heart Association has declared this week “CPR Week” to help raise awareness of the potentially life–saving skill.

Hands–Only CPR is a modern variation that involves two steps: dial 9–1–1, then push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

“There’s an electrical system in your heart that keeps your heart beating,” said Curtis Lesage, Manager of the School of EMT and American Heart Association Community Training Center Coordinator at UP Health System – Marquette. “So if that electrical system and your heart stops beating, your brain, your lungs, your vital organs — even your heart — are no longer getting blood, so they’re not getting oxygen. Pushing hard, fast in the center of the chest moves that blood around and keeps those vital organs alive until EMS responders can get on scene and take over for you.”

Before delivering Hands–Only CPR, make sure the scene is safe. Lesage added that the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees provides an ideal rhythm for chest compressions. Automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, are devices found in many public spaces and in the hands of emergency responders that can also assist in saving a life.

“They’re very easy to use. It’s essentially turning the device on and listening to the voice prompts on the device,” Lesage added. “There’s pictures, there’s voice prompts to allow you to be able to use them with very little training.”

The School of EMT at UP Health System – Marquette offers a number of educational programs that teach skills such as Hands–Only CPR. For more information on Hands-Only CPR, click here, and to visit the School of EMT’s website, click here.