Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a necessary and life-saving procedure that is used when one’s heart stops. CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other essential organs until medical professionals arrive. Without immediate CPR, the lack of oxygenated blood can cause permanent brain damage within only a couple minutes, and one may even die without proper CPR in as quickly as eight-ten minutes.
Note that even if you’re not properly trained, it is always recommended that you offer at least some of the following life-saving assistance. This intervention could mean the difference between life and death.
Preparing to Give CPR
- Before beginning CPR, take note of your surroundings. Ensure that you aren’t in immediate danger and that the area is relatively safe in general.
- Next, determine whether the person is conscious or unconscious. If conscious, touch the person in need and loudly ask: “Are you OK?” This question will ensure that you are indeed offering assistance only to someone who truly requires help.
- Once you receive confirmation that the person does indeed need help, immediately designate someone nearby to call 911 while you begin CPR procedures. If there is no one else nearby who can call 911, call yourself while also beginning CPR.
- Once 911 has been alerted and is on the line, designate someone to immediately retrieve an automated external defibrillator (AED). If no AED is available or if there is no one to retrieve it, do not leave the person in need of assistance. Instead, simply stay on the line with 911 and continue administering CPR procedures until help arrives.
- Before beginning CPR, be sure to open the airway. First, ensure that the victim is lying flat on their back. Then, slightly tilt their head back in order to lift their chin and allow for optimal airflow.
- Finally, assess whether or not the victim is breathing. Put your ear near their mouth and listen carefully for approximately ten seconds. If the victim is indeed not breathing, then it is time to begin CPR procedures.
- When administering CPR, place your hands, one on top of the other, in the middle of the person’s chest. Then, use your body weight to help you administer hard, fast compressions that are at least two-inches deep at a rate of about 100 – 120 compressions per minute. (A trick for knowing how quickly to apply compressions is to push to the beat of “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees.)
- Next, deliver rescue breaths. Again ensure that the person’s head is tilted back slightly so that their chin is lifted. Then, pinch their nose shut and place your mouth over the person’s mouth so that it is completely sealed. Finally, begin blowing into their mouth with enough force so that their chest rises. Deliver two rescue breaths, then continue compressions. Continue to alternate between 30 compressions and two breaths until emergency assistance arrives.
Note from the American Red Cross: If the chest does not rise with the initial rescue breath, re-tilt the head before delivering the second breath. If the chest doesn’t rise with the second breath, the person may be choking. After each subsequent set of 30 chest compressions, and before attempting breaths, look for an object and, if seen, remove it.
It is always recommended to take an accredited first-aid training course which includes CPR training. This information could end up being life-saving for you or a loved one. However, even without training, you can still assist someone in need by calling 911 before attempting CPR to the best of your ability. The emergency dispatcher will instruct you on the proper procedure until help arrives.
American CPR Care Association provides quality healthcare training, as well as first aid and CPR courses through our online portal. For more information about administering CPR, contact us at: 1-888-808-9109 or visit our website today.