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October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

hands only cpr on a manikin

On the final day of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, the Seattle Fire Department would like to remind residents to learn about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and how to prepare for it. SCA is a life-threatening emergency that happens when the heart suddenly stops beating. It can affect people of all ages, including those who appear healthy. SCA can lead to death within minutes if the person doesn’t receive immediate help. Around 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home so it’s important to know what to do if this were to happen. A cardiac patient’s chance of becoming a long-term survivor are more than doubled if someone on the scene calls 911 and administers prompt Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

Administering hands-only CPR (without breaths) is a simple technique that only takes a few minutes to learn.

If you see someone collapse, follow these steps:

  1. Call 911 – Give specific information to the dispatcher, starting with the location. Is an automated external defibrillator (AED) available? If so, send someone to retrieve it and use it as soon as you can.
  2. Make sure the scene is safe
  3. Quickly determine if the person needs CPR – If the person is not responsive or not breathing normally – tap them on the shoulder and shout, “Are you ok. Are you ok?” If the person doesn’t move, speak, blink, or otherwise react, then he or she is not responding.
  4. Begin Chest Compressions – Use two hands, with straight arms, and push down hard and fast in the center of the chest. Make sure compressions are at least 2-inches deep, and are at the rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  5. Don’t stop compressions until help arrives or take turns with someone if you get tired

CPR/AED Resources

Learn about and download the PulsePoint app and how it alerts community members when CPR is needed in real-time

Hands-only CPR handout in 15 languages

CPR Video in several languages