Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

February is “Heart Hero” month, and the Los Angeles county department of Public Health — in conjunction with the county Health Services and Fire departments, the LA City Fire Department, American Heart Association and the American Red Cross — is urging communities to learn how to perform hands-only CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) through scheduled information and  training events. The goal is to train 100,000 “Heart Heroes” in Los Angeles County to perform this lifesaving skill.

Hands-Only CPR is performed by pushing hard and fast in the center of chest, without using mouth-to-mouth breaths like traditional CPR. It instead focuses on the first few minutes following cardiac arrest. Frequent chest compressions move oxygen through the body to keep the brain and other vital organs alive, helping buy time until help arrives.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death and premature death in Los Angeles County, and continues to be the leading cause of death in the nation. Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival may depend on receiving immediate CPR from someone nearby.

According to the American Heart Association, approximately ninety percent of people who suffer out of hospital cardiac arrests die. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

Community training locations include:

In San Fernando

Feb. 16, San Fernando Recreation Park, 208 Park Ave.,10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Feb. 21, Las Palmas Park, 505 Huntington St., San Fernando, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In Sun Valley

Feb. 22, Roscoe Elementary School, 10765 Strathern St., 8 a.m to 10:30 a.m.

In North Hollywood

Feb. 27, North Hollywood Regional Library, 5211 Tujunga Ave., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In Santa Clarita

Feb. 27, College of the Canyons, 17200 Sierra Hwy, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.