BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 7, 2023 - The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, is joining forces with the YMCA of Greater Birmingham to provide CPR training to the Birmingham community.

Through this initiative, the Association will provide CPR & First Aid Anywhere Training Kits to all eight YMCA branches across Birmingham as well as the organization’s two youth centers. This will allow the YMCA staff, including wellness coordinators, volunteers and student leaders, to train students, parents and community members in learning the lifesaving skill of Hands-Only CPR. Each kit can be used to train hundreds of individuals, and the training will be free and open to all.

“We are extremely excited to work with the YMCA of Greater Birmingham to train more members of our community in Hands-Only CPR,” said Lizzi Willicott, executive director of the American Heart Association in Birmingham. “Teaching the lifesaving skill of CPR is foundational to the work of the American Heart Association, and we are grateful for our community’s support.”

Each year, more than 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital, and about 90% of those people do not survive. When CPR is performed effectively, it can double or even triple the victim’s chance of survival. Despite this, many Americans do not know how or feel comfortable enough to perform CPR. According to Association research, bystanders perform CPR only about 46% of the time.

“The YMCA is uniquely positioned to help solve the unmet needs of our community,” said Jude Dooley, chief operating officer of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham. “By working with the American Heart Association, we can ensure that more people in our community will know what to do in an emergency and will feel confident performing CPR, thus saving more lives.”

Funding for the CPR kits is being provided by Birmingham-based Robins & Morton, which will allow the YMCA to offer training for the next three years. “Robins & Morton is proud to support the American Heart Association and its lifesaving mission,” said Mark Mattox, the company’s vice president. “Heart disease has a tangible impact on our community, and we appreciate the opportunity to fight back through advocacy and gifts that will contribute to invaluable research.”

For anyone who witnesses a teen or adult go into cardiac arrest, Hands-Only CPR is an easy-to-learn skill that requires only two steps: 1) call 9-1-1 and 2) push hard and fast in the center of the chest at a rate of 100-120 beats per minute.

To learn more about Hands-Only CPR at the YMCA, visit For additional information on Hands-Only CPR or to find other training opportunities, visit


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

Media Contact

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