The Michael E. DeBakey Heart Institute at Hays Medical Center and the HaysMed Center Foundation will host its 14th annual Staying Alive Hands Only cardiopulmonary resuscitation March 1.

According to the American Heart Association, 250,000 adults in the U.S. experience sudden cardiac arrest each year. More than 95 percent die before reaching a hospital.

"CPR can improve these odds," said Debbie McLaren, education certification coordinator at HaysMed. "This is a non-certification class, but its purpose is to know what to do when your loved one collapses or is choking."

Approximately 200 people have attended the class in past years.

"When they come, they get a kit," McLaren said. "The kit has a blow-up dummy and DVD that we show the day of class."

McLaren said she hopes those who attend the training will take the information home to their family and friends.

"When they first started teaching CPR, people were scared of it," she said. "Now it's gotten simplified since most of the cases will happen at home or work."

Based on studies by the AMA, CPR has changed to a "hands only" technique, where the one administering presses "hard and fast" to the beat of the song "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees.

"Chest compressions are probably best because it gets the blood flowing," McLaren said. "The song's ('Staying Alive') beat is the same as CPR. That's how fast you need to go."

McLaren said those experiencing a case in which CPR might be crucial always should call 911 first, then start compressions.

Anyone older than 8 is welcome to attend. Ages vary, McLaren said, but pre-teenagers and older adults are common age groups.

"We see a lot of younger kids who are going to be baby-sitting," she said. "Also, a lot of grandparents who have to baby-sit."

The class will be offered from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. To register, call (785) 623-5500.