Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department encourages residents to learn Hands-Only CPR

When someone suffers cardiac arrest, every second counts. The longer a patient goes without Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), the less likely their chance of survival. Unfortunately, that is what happens all too often. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 70 percent of Americans feel helpless during emergency situations and hesitate to act.

To help ease fears and increase the chances of patients getting the assistance they need, the AHA has developed Hands-Only CPR. Hands-Only CPR involves two simple steps: 1. Call 9-1-1 and 2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

“Too often bystanders do not offer aid to a patient because they can’t remember all the steps to traditional CPR, are afraid of doing it incorrectly, or are wary of giving mouth-to-mouth breaths to a stranger,” said Mary Murphy, emergency services coordinator. “The goal of hands-only CPR is to simplify the process and encourage more people to attempt life-saving measures in emergency situations.”

First, call 9-1-1 or assign someone to do so. Second, place one hand on top of the other, interlacing the fingers and push hard and fast in the center of the chest using the heel of the hand. To help CPR givers deliver chest compression at the correct intervals, the AHA recommends doing so to the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive,” which is the equivalent of 100 beats per minute. Continue giving compressions, two inches deep, until help arrives. If possible, switch off with another person every two minutes. CPR is tiring and the longer you do it, the less effective your compressions will be due to fatigue.

“It cannot be stressed enough that doing something is better than doing nothing,” said Murphy. “Even incorrect chest compressions are more effective than no chest compressions.”

The RSFFPD also provides Hands-Only CPR instruction to community groups, homeowners associations, schools, churches, etc. To schedule a Hands-Only CPR training session for your group, please contact public education coordinator Julie Taber at 858-756-6008.

For more information about Hands-Only CPR and other life-safety information, please visit

—Submitted press