Imagine a loved one, friend, colleague, or even a nearby stranger is having a heart attack. Would you know what to do? About 70% of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home. If you see someone collapse, hands only CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a way for you to assist without having any formal training and can be just as effective as CPR with breaths in the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
What to do
The first thing to do is check if person is breathing. If not, call 9-1-1 and explain to the operator that the victim is not breathing. Keep the phone on speaker phone and nearby while continuing with the hands only CPR.
Next, place the heel of one hand on the center of the person’s chest, followed by the heel of the other directly on top, interlacing your fingers. Keeping your arms straight and shoulders directly above your hands, you’ll want to start compressing at a rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute (bpm), or to the tune of the song “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees, about two inches deep. Compress hard and fast, allowing just enough time for the chest to recoil between compression. Do not worry about doing harm to the other person. Doing something is better than nothing. Don’t stop until either until the person starts to show signs of life again or a professional arrives and can take control.
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