National Night Out has become an annual tradition in the U.S. on the first Tuesday in August, except in Texas where it’s marked on the first Tuesday in October. An estimated 40 million people turn out in more than 16,000 communities. There are block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, exhibits and more. An underlying theme is to provide people with an informal opportunity to get to know the local police, firefighters and other first responders and vice versa. The interaction is designed to reduce tensions and enhance cooperation and respect.
In New Rochelle this year, those attending the National Night Out celebration at the city’s police headquarters had an opportunity for something more than fun and games: personnel from NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital and ColumbiaDoctors were on hand to demonstrate “Hands-Only CPR” – a potentially lifesaving technique for restarting a heart that is easy to learn and doesn’t require mouth-to-mouth breathing.
Representing the hospital were: Mary Anne Rittenhouse, a registered nurse with the Joint Replacement Center; Elan Goldwaser, a primary care orthopedist and sports medicine specialist with ColumbiaDoctors; and Margaret Walotsky, patient care director of the cardiac catheterization library at NewYork-PresbyterianLawrence Hospital.
“Hands-Only CPR” takes less than a minute to learn and increases a victim’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest by three times. The medical team also shared other information and answered questions from community members.