Nearly a year ago, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee David Martinez saved the life of a co-worker by performing Hands-Only CPR, which he learned from watching an American Heart Association (AHA) training video. Martinez joined about 300 employees as they learned the same two-step lifesaving skill during a training which was provided through the Hands-Only CPR Mobile Tour presented by the AHA at the New York Transit Museum on Sept. 12.

Two steps

Over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year. Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR (chest compressions and rescue breaths) for cardiac arrest when it occurs in public. Hands-Only CPR has two steps, performed in this order: when you see a teen or adult collapse, call 911; then, push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives.

The interactive tour supported by the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem Inc., delivers Hands-Only CPR training using music that is 100 to 120 beats per minute – the rate you should push on the chest during CPR. It was the beat of a familiar song, “Stayin’ Alive,” that was featured in the AHA video called “CPR Saves Lives,” that Martinez watched that later helped him remember how to perform Hands-Only CPR on his co-worker, Monique Brathwaite, when she suffered a cardiac arrest. A powerful dose of electricity struck Brathwaite at a maintenance work site in Oct. 2016. Martinez was nearby and he jumped into action, performing Hands-Only CPR.

Just in case

“I’m really happy that she (Brathwaite) is alive today because of that video because I learned Hands-Only CPR,” Martinez told his fellow employees at the training at the New York Transit Museum. “I hope we don’t have to use it. But at least we know how to use it in case we need it.”

During the tour stop, emcees led training sessions that featured a performance of a song for the audience to remember when administering Hands-Only CPR. Music is a great learning tool in any situation when training for an emergency. Research shows that people are more likely to remember the correct chest compression rate when trained to the beat of a familiar song with 100 to 120 beats per minute, according to a study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

About 90 percent of people who experience an out of hospital cardiac arrest die. We need bystanders to stop being bystanders and instead become citizen rescuers if they witness a person suffering a cardiac emergency.  This mobile tour training is one way to provide more people with the necessary knowledge to act,” said Clifton Callaway, M.D., Ph.D., a volunteer on the AHA’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care committee and professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. “We hope to instill confidence in everyone about performing Hands-Only CPR and empower them so they won’t be afraid to perform CPR. It is much better to act, and nobody should be afraid or not know the simple skills to save a life.”

CPR, especially if administered immediately after cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. With 70 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home, a person will likely be trying to save the life of someone they know and love if they’re called on to perform Hands-Only CPR.

On tour

“Our annual Hands-Only CPR tour with the AHA is a valuable way to connect with our communities and bring this lifesaving training directly to them,” said Craig Samitt, MD, chief clinical officer at Anthem, Inc. “The tour will ultimately help people understand that anyone can save a life with the right training, which is important because they may need to save the life of someone they love.”

The New York Transit Museum is among 22 stops across seven states where the tour is visiting through Oct. 3. The tour will make another New York City stop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 14, 2017 at Brookfield Place on the venue’s lower plaza located at 230 Vesey St. The tour has already visited venues in cities and towns in Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

New Jersey, Missouri and Kentucky are the next states where the tour will visit before it ends Oct. 3. Since 2012, the Hands-Only CPR Mobile Tour has trained over 70,000 people in 19 states. This year, actress and comedienne, Wendi McLendon-Covey is featured in the Association’s Hands-Only CPR Training video that teaches this valuable skill. To learn more about the Hands-Only CPR campaign and get ready to save a life, visit or