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New initiative aims to train 1 million San Diegans in hands-only CPR

San Diego County and UC San Diego Health are joining forces to train one million San Diegans in hands-only CPR as part of the Revive and Survive Initiative. KPBS Reporter Melissa Mae describes why the technique is a lifesaver for people in cardiac arrest.

The County of San Diego and UC San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health partnered to create the Revive & Survive San Diego initiative with a goal of training 1 million San Diegans in hands-only CPR.

The technique does not include mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but instead involves pushing fast at the center of the chest.

Why it matters

Bystander CPR is performed less than 50% of the time in San Diego County said County Fire Director Jeff Collins. He hopes the Revive and Survive initiative encourages individuals to become trained in CPR.


“So they can be there for that family member or friend or they can be there for that stranger that's in need,” Collins said.

Cardiac arrest is one of the medical emergencies where immediate CPR can mean the difference between life and death said County Emergency Medical Services Director Dr. Kristi Koenig.

“We need to have somebody there to help support the heart until we can get our EMS professionals to the scene to provide a higher level of care. It will increase survival," Koenig said. "It can double your survival if you have bystander hands-only CPR on scene immediately.”

By the numbers

The American Heart Association said 9 out of 10 people who experience cardiac arrest die before they reach the hospital.

“Brain damage starts to occur four-to-six minutes after someone experiences a cardiac arrest if CPR is not performed. So we need to get there right away because no matter how quickly our first responders get there, if they get there and somebody has not had hands-only CPR, their outcome is not going to be as good,” Koenig said.


Closer look

To learn more about the Revive and Survive Initiative and where to get free hands-only CPR training, go to