According to the American Heart Association, 88 percent of all cardiac arrests occur in the home.
Unfortunately, even if someone else is present, 70 percent of people say they would feel helpless in an emergency because they don't know or don't remember how to perform Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
First responders say it's more important than ever before to brush up on your knowledge of CPR.
Being able to immediately administer CPR could more than double someone's chance of survival and the recommended method has changed if you are administering CPR by yourself.
When Helen Servicky said 'I do', her husband isn't shy to admit his heart nearly skipped a beat.
Helen's heart did the same 62 years later only she didn't fall head over heels again. Instead, she fell over with a massive heart attack. She was unresponsive and not breathing.
In a frantic call to 911, Helen's husband, Edward, told the 911 operator, "She's gone, she's dead, come on, I need help!"
Help was dispatched by Kimberly Phillips, a 911 operator with the Mecklenburg EMS Agency located in Charlotte, NC.
Edward then passed the phone to his son, Ron.
Phillips had only seconds on the phone to teach Ron the new way of administering CPR because the method has radically changed.
"Place the heel of your hand in the center of the chest right between the nipples," Phillips told Ron. "Put your other hand on top of that hand, push down firmly two inches."
"Pump the chest hard and fast at least two pumps per second," Phillips said. "We're going to do this 600 times or until help can take over."
The new technique requires you to do this 600 times, give two breaths, and then start counting to 600 again.
Studies by the American Heart Association now say the key to survival is keeping the blood circulating.
Stopping to give frequent breaths stops the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain.
By doing this new procedure, Ron Servicky was essentially making his mother's heat beat for her by giving her enough time to let her chest come back up. This allows the blood to flow in and out of one of the body's hardest working and well-protected muscles.
"I heard a cracking noise," Ron Servicky recalls.
While this may sound alarming, on an elderly person, this means you are pushing with the right amount of force.
Experts say the necessary force may break a few ribs, but a cardiac arrest victim can survive a few broken bones. They can't if their heart isn't beating.
The beat of the new CPR procedures is faster than the previous requirement of one pump per second, or as first responders learn, the same pace as the appropriately named 1970s song, Stayin' Alive!
"She wouldn't be alive if he hadn't done CPR – she just wouldn't," Phillips told America Now Reporter Casey Roman.
Just a few months later, Phillips had the opportunity to meet the Servickys during a special reunion of first responders and the survivor.
"It was like seeing an angel," Ron Servicky said after meeting Phillips. "She's someone I'll hold special in my life forever."
For the special people in your life, first responders hope you will teach them the new version of this life-saving lesson.
"It is one of the basics of life," and Phillips adds, "It's just as important as teaching a child how to read."
"If people think it's a joke, by golly, I'll tell them it isn't a joke," Edward Servicky says. "It's a serious thing that everybody should know."
To this, Helen Servicky adds, "Learn it."
More than six decades ago, Edward was asking for a lifetime in sickness and health.
Thanks to the success of the new CPR method, the help of the first responders, and their son, the Servickys might have many more years of keeping that promise.
Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.
Before starting CPR:
To improve circulation:
Check the airway:
The following CPR statistics are from the American Heart Association <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/WhatisCPR/CPRFactsandStatistics_UCM_307542_Article.jsp>