Red Cross Training Can Prevent Loss of Life During Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Written By Kathy Huston

“70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home. If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love.” –

Let this sink in, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the number-one cause of death in the U.S. Approximately 350,000 people of all ages, shapes, ethnicity and athletic abilities fall victim to this stealthy assailant each year. Nine out of 10 victims of SCA do not survive.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs when the heart beats rapidly in an irregular rhythm. Often, SCA strikes seemingly healthy people with no known medical conditions. Scary, yes, but the American Red Cross estimates that 50,000 lives could be saved annually with improved training in CPR and increased access to automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). When bystanders perform CPR immediately and use AEDs before emergency personnel arrive, survival rates increase from an average of 10 percent to 50 percent.


Quickly defibrillating the heart is key, a victim’s chance of survival drops by 10 percent every minute the abnormal heartbeat is left unchecked.

The AED is a portable, lightweight device that delivers an electric shock to the heart, bringing the heartbeat back to a normal rhythm. It’s an easy-to-use tool, even for people with no prior medical experience.

All Americans should be within four minutes of an AED, according to the Red Cross. The American Heart Association recommends placement of AEDs in all first-response vehicles, doctors’ offices, public places like sports arenas, airports, office complexes and all areas where large groups of people gather. The 2010 consensus on science for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) agrees that SCA can be treated most effectively by a combination of CPR and defibrillation.

June 1st to the 7th is National CPR AED Awareness week, which is an especially good time to become certified. Go to and click on the “Training & Certification” tab. Who knows? You might just come to the rescue.

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