City’s CPR program trains 30,000th person

An ambulance rushes to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. (Brian Kapur/The Current/April 2017)

More than 30,000 people in the District have been trained in hands-only CPR through the city’s Hands on Hearts program, according to a release.

The city launched the program, which provides the training free of charge, in October 2015 with the goal of training 5,000 people in a year. The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department — working with the Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism, Serve DC — more than doubled that goal during the first year of the program.

“This brief training can mean the difference between life and death for a friend, family member, or stranger who needs care before emergency medical services are able to respond,” Bowser said in the release.

Speaking at the H Street Festival, Bowser recognized Elizabeth Castro, the 30,000th person to be trained, and introduced Tylan Pendergast, who saved his son’s life over the summer by performing CPR until first responders arrived after he went into cardiac arrest.

Last year, after a man went into cardiac arrest inside a Dupont Circle office building, District resident Danette Purvis performed CPR less than a day after she was trained in the Hands on Hearts program.

For more information on attending a training session, visit