By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

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More and more people are finding the opportunity to save lives at airports across the country.

Travelers can now learn Hands-Only CPR in just a few minutes at five airport kiosks that provide quick lessons and practice using a video touch-screen and a CPR mannequin.

The kiosks are supported by the Anthem Foundation and the American Heart Association. The AHA recently recognized the foundation’s support of Hands-Only CPR with a Meritorious Achievement award.

The foundation has committed $12.4 million over eight years to help the AHA educate millions of people about Hands-Only CPR, or CPR without rescue breaths.

“For the past four years, the Anthem Foundation has been working closely with the American Heart Association to help educate people about Hands-Only CPR,” said Craig Samitt, M.D., Anthem’s executive vice-president and chief clinical officer. “To date, we’ve helped educate and train more than three million people in this lifesaving skill, with the goal of preparing them to act in an emergency to save the lives of strangers or those they love most.”

Ohio college student Matt Lickenbrock learned Hands-Only CPR during a layover, then used his new skill just days later to save a fellow student who had been struck by lightning and went into cardiac arrest, meaning his heart abruptly stopped.

“No one ever thinks they’ll use CPR. You learn it but hope you don’t need to use it,” Lickenbrock said.

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest happens more than 350,000 times a year across the country, often in public places like airports, casinos and sporting facilities. Survival depends on getting CPR right away, and survival rates drop as much as 10 percent for every minute that goes by without intervention.

Hands-Only CPR consists of calling 911 and pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives if you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse.

“Hands-Only CPR requires minimal instruction and can even be coached over the phone by 911 operators,” said Clifton Callaway, M.D., Ph.D., professor and executive vice-chair of Emergency Medicine and Ronald D. Stewart Endowed Chair of Emergency Medicine Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “It can allow a person in cardiac arrest to survive the minutes required until professional help arrives to treat and correct the cardiac arrest — and it can be performed by anyone.”

Other kiosks are now located at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Indianapolis International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland. Kiosks are also planned for Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.

The Hands-Only CPR training kiosks feature a touch screen with a video program that gives a brief “how to,” followed by a practice session and a CPR test.

Those few minutes at the airport truly can translate to lifesaving minutes for cardiac arrest victims later, Callaway said.

“Even in the best 911 systems, professional help will require several minutes to arrive, and the actions of the average citizen can make the difference between surviving and not surviving,” he said.