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CPR class uses ‘Stayin’ Alive’ song to teach beat for modern practice

Posted: October 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Dotan Horowitz, brand ambassador for the American Heart Association, right, guides Eunice Ling, of Princess Cruises, through timing chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive" during a CPR Anytime training course outside Princess Cruises headquarters in Valencia on Wednesday.


The Bee Gees’ disco hit “Stayin’ Alive” took a literal turn Wednesday as hundreds turned out to pump the chests of partial, plastic dummies during a hands-only CPR seminar.

County Fire Department and American Heart Association officials shared the tools necessary for bystanders to turn themselves into lifesavers in an emergency situation, said Kelly Martyn of Burbank.

Martyn, who is with the Heart Association, emceed the event in a polyester leisure suit.

The ’70s theme was more than an entertaining diversion; “Stayin’ Alive” is actually a well-researched part of the plan to teach CPR, according to Merrilee Sweet, national director of Consumer Markets for the American Heart Association.

The timing of the chest pumping for someone giving CPR matches up perfectly with the famous “Ah, ha, ha, ha,” beat of the disco classic, she said.

And setting to music the instructions for such a serious job made the lesson a lot easier to take in, said Lucy Mulholland of Santa Clarita, a Princess Cruises employee who attended the seminar outside her office.

“More than 70 percent of people do not know what to do when someone goes into cardiac arrest,” Martyn said. “So we want to empower people to be able to do something, instead of ‘freezing.’”

American Heart Association employees offered 30-minute training sessions with Fire Department officials. The sessions were hosted outside the headquarters for Princess Cruises, an event sponsor.

The training provided each of the volunteer CPR-learners a kit with information that will allow them to teach others and refresh their memories in case their skills get rusty.

“Our goal is to teach 1,000 people today,” said Assistant Fire Chief Bill Niccum of the Los Angeles County Fire Department between two of the half-hour sessions that ran all day.

“We hope that those people will take that information and share it so we can reach 10,000 people,” he said.

Mulholland said she would share her instructional kit and DVD with her husband and teenage son.

“I’m hoping that a little bit of knowledge will be a good thing,” she said. “You never know how you’re going to react when something like that happens.”


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