The American Heart Association wants everyone to know how to save a life, and on Tuesday, it started its mobile 'Hands Only' CPR program at the Empire State Plaza to show people how to do just that.
"The song I used to tell everybody to use is 'Stayin' Alive' by the Bee Gees, it's exactly the right beat, but the other song that people are using now: 'Baby Shark,' " said Dr. Michael Dailey, Chief of Pre-hospital & Operational Medicine at Albany Med.
The AHA says any song that's 100-120 beats per minute will do. The free mobile course is hands-on for participants, and many go home with a kit to practice after the training.
"Learning hands-only CPR gives people the chance to save lives," Dailey said.
Those lives include Bernie Phillips, a now-retired Schenectady school teacher who lives in Latham with his wife. Ten years ago, he had a heart attack while he was sleeping.
"My wife got me off the bed and started CPR," Phillips said.
Dailey says that saved his life.
"When Agnes did CPR on Bernie, that made all the difference in the EMS providers being able to save his life," said Dailey.
Philllips say Colonie EMS worked on him for 43 minutes and had to defibrillate him five times to get his heart to start again. Once he got to the hospital, it was another uphill battle, because Phillips was alive, but unresponsive. Dr. Dailey's team tried a new procedure, putting him on ice.
"[They] put me in a coma for a couple of days, and surprisingly I woke up," Phillips said. "I was able to then go home and stop by my classroom a few days later, let the kids know that I'm not dead yet, and they still have homework due."
While he's got a sense of humor about it a decade later, Phillips says the CPR knowledge his wife had was critical in saving his life, and he recommends everyone take a few minutes to learn hands only CPR.
"It's just a little bit of knowledge that the fact that it's hands-only, it takes away the thing where most people are averse to doing CPR. 'Oh that person, I don't know if I want to put my lips on them as they're slobbering on the ground.' No, it's just start the compressions, and the most important thing is to just keep the blood moving," Phillips saiud.
The AHA's mobile tour is on the move, but if you can't get to one of its free 30-minute sessions to learn hands-only CPR, Dailey says there's another great way.
"Go to YouTube, type in 'hands-only CPR,' and you can find some really serious people teaching you how to do it, and you can find some people really messing around and having fun, but learning how to save a life," Dailey said.
The tour will make stops in Brooklyn and Manhattan before heading to several other states across the country.