Virginia Beach One of Five U.S. Cities Chosen for CPR Grants

Goal: Train 5,000 Residents in Hands-Only CPR

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Virginia Beach is one of five cities nationwide chosen to receive 1,000 Hands-Only CPR training kits that will help turn residents into lifesavers.


The winners were announced today by the American Heart Association and Cities of Service, a bipartisan coalition of more than 150 mayors who are committed to using service to address pressing local needs. Other cities chosen are Austin, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y.; Milwaukee, Wis., and Savannah, Ga.


In Virginia Beach, the kits will be used to train 1,000 residents.  The Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services will coordinate distribution of the kits for training residents at local events, volunteer rescue squads, community centers, churches, businesses and schools. Those residents, in turn, will each pledge to train at least four additional friends or relatives. The goal is ultimately to train 5,000 people how to perform life-saving Hands-Only CPR


“Virginia Beach EMS is proud to be such an integral part of this effort,” said Chief Bruce W. Edwards of the Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services. “In the late 1960s, out-of-hospital CPR – and in the early 1970s, pre-hospital advanced cardiac care – were started in the commonwealth by the volunteer rescue squads of Virginia Beach. We look forward to the Cities of Service Hands-Only CPR grant providing the opportunity to teach CPR to more and more people. We hope this will increase our successful record of cardiac arrest survivals.”


The training kit will support implementation of the Cities of Service Volunteer CPR Blueprint, a high-impact service strategy in which cities partner with local healthcare professionals and emergency responders to train volunteers to use the lifesaving Hands-Only CPR technique. The blueprint calls for volunteers who are trained by professionals to teach CPR to at least five other residents, vastly improving a community’s ability to respond to sudden cardiac emergencies. Each grant is valued at $20,000.


Stephanie Phipps, executive director for the American Heart Association in Hampton Roads, said, “The more people who are trained in CPR, the more lifesavers we have in communities who can act as first responders when citizens go into cardiac arrest. Getting people at a grassroots level to not only learn Hands-Only CPR but to share it with others is one way the American Heart Association is working to ensure all Americans know the simple steps to save a life with Hands-Only CPR.”


The Hands-Only CPR Training Kit grant program is part of the association’s national campaign, supported by a three-year, $4.5 million grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation. The campaign uses public service announcements, social media and a multistate mobile training tour to teach the Hands-Only CPR method. The aim is to double the rate of survival from cardiac arrest by 2020.


“Our mission is to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in the communities we serve, so supporting the American Heart Association’s Hands-Only CPR campaign is a natural fit,” said C. Burke King, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  “Too many people die unnecessarily each year from sudden cardiac arrest and we are committed to do our part to help improve this public health crisis.”


Nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States, and 89 percent of Americans die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. Hands-Only CPR is a quick, easy way to save more lives. If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, (1) call 9-1-1, and (2) push hard and fast in the center of the chest. Doing these compressions at the proper beat can more than double a person’s chances of survival. Coincidentally, the proper beat matches the classic Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive.”


“The Volunteer CPR Blueprint is a tested service strategy that has helped mayors train more than 150,000 Americans in Hands-Only CPR,” said Katie Leonberger of the Cities of Service coalition. “We’re thrilled to work with the American Heart Association to spread this lifesaving technique to more cities and thousands more Americans nationwide.”


For more information about Cities of Service, visit To learn more about Hands-Only CPR, visit


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