Heartsaver Hero Award recipients Lila Harris, Liv Harris-Morris, and Jennifer Jones with Bruce Dailey. (Not pictured: Heartsaver Hero Award recipient Sue Shove)

Immediate CPR can mean the difference between life and death. It did for Bruce Dailey, whose life was saved by four people, including a ninth grader, honored by the American Heart Association on Wednesday.

“You have no idea how good it feels to be here today,” Dailey said during the Heartsaver Hero Award presentation at Afton Central School. Heartsaver Hero Awards honor bystanders who take action to save sudden cardiac arrest victims. “I was very fortunate that the people I was with were prepared,” Dailey continued. “This is why we take CPR training. We take it for our community, so we can help each other.”

Dailey, 70, collapsed in November during a lifeguard review class at the school. Fellow lifeguard review students Jennifer Jones, Lila Harris and Sue Shove started CPR. Along with first responders, they performed more than nine minutes of CPR to keep Dailey alive. As soon as Dailey collapsed, Oliviah Harris-Morris, a ninth-grade student at Afton, ran to get the automated external defibrillator (AED) without being asked. Dailey had to be shocked three times before he made it to the hospital.

Harris-Morris knew exactly where the AED was because of CPR trainings given every year to all students in Afton’s physical education class. She is one of the thousands of New York State students who will learn Hands-Only CPR before graduation. In 2015, New York became the 26th state in the nation to make Hands-Only CPR training a graduation requirement.

“Teaching Hands-Only CPR in our schools allows us to train the next generation of lifesavers,” said Gina Chapman, Regional Director for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “We want everyone, young people like Oliviah and adults like the rest of this incredible group, to have the skills to take action after a cardiac arrest.”

Jones, Harris, Harris-Morris, and Shove were all presented with Heartsaver Her Awards during an assembly Wednesday afternoon. Senator Fred Akshar honored the group, as well. Senator Akshar visited the school during the last school-wide Hands-Only CPR training session.

“I’m so proud to be in my home town of Afton to honor four remarkable individuals who remembered and utilized their training when it was needed most – to save a life,” Senator Akshar said. “No one wants to see tragedies, accidents or medical emergencies happen, but if and when they do, we want to know that help will be nearby, and that everyday citizens will be ready and willing to save lives. Jennifer, Sue, Lila and Oliviah are shining examples of why CPR and AED training can be so important, and why it’s so important that we all are prepared for an emergency or tragedy. I extend my heartfelt thanks to them on behalf of everyone the 52nd Senate District of New York for their dedication, their hard work and their bravery. They’ve made us all very proud.”

Each year, more than 350,000 patients in the U.S. suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital. Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain and other organs. About 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

Hands-Only CPR is easy to learn and easy to do. It can be performed in two steps. If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse: 1) Call 911 and 2) push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives. Visit heart.org/handsonlycpr to watch the Hands-Only CPR instructional video or find a CPR class near you at heart.org/findacourse.