(WKBN) – June 1-7 is National CPR and AED Awareness Week. The goal is to spotlight how lives can be saved if more Americans know how and when to perform CPR.

The American Heart Association states that 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes.

Tracy Behnke, executive director for the Northeast Ohio American Heart Association, says being prepared is important.

“They’re happening to loved ones at home. If you’re out at the shopping mall, grocery store, truly anywhere, and anybody can be a life saver,” she said.

The American Heart Association says cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, and if CPR is performed immediately by a person nearby, it can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

“If we can start the compressions, it’s getting the blood flow to the brain, and it’s just keeping that heart pumping,” Behnke said.

Behnke says local people performing CPR are the first step in the chain of survival for victims.

AHA says to push hard and fast at the center of the chest to a song that has 100-120 beats per minute.

“What research has really taught us lately is that those compressions really help get that blood flowing. That’s what we need to keep happening so that brain function keeps going,” Behnke said.

Mercy Health educator and retired paramedic Mike Kerr says performing CPR before medics get there can save a life.

“Pump on their chest, help them out as opposed to, ‘I couldn’t do nothing.’ We want you to call 911, we want you to get that moving, but a little bit goes a long way,” he said.

Kerr says that after 6-10 minutes of no oxygen, irreversible brain damage occurs.

AHA says to first call 911, then begin hands-on CPR. Visit AHA’s website for more information about CPR.