Dealing With Emergencies - CPR
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is pushing down on a person's chest and breathing into his or her mouth. It is
used in emergencies when someone's heart stops beating, or when he or she is not breathing
normally (may be gasping for breath) or is
not breathing at all.
CPR works to move blood to the person's brain to help prevent brain
damage. CPR can help keep someone alive until a health professional arrives.
CPR Ready Reference has the basic steps for CPR. Use it for quick
information on hand placement for chest compression,
compression rates, compression depth, and ratio of compressions to
The American Heart
Association recommends these guidelines for
Step 1. Check to see if the person is conscious.
Tap or gently shake the person and shout, "Are you okay?" But do not shake someone who might have a neck or back injury.
That could make it worse.
If the person does not respond, follow
Adults and older children who have reached puberty
- For an adult or an older child who has
puberty (body hair or breast development),
call 911 or other
emergency services and then get an AED if there is one nearby. Then start CPR.
Babies and young children until the age of puberty
- For a baby or young child who has not
reached puberty, start CPR. Do CPR for 2 minutes. Then call 911 or other emergency services and get an AED if there is one nearby.
Note: If there
is another person with you, one person should call 911 while the other starts CPR.
Step 2: Start chest compressions.
For an adult or an older child who has reached puberty
- Move or remove all clothing covering the
chest. You need to be able to see the chest move.
- Kneel next to the
person. Use your fingers to locate the end of the breastbone, where the ribs
come together. Place two fingers at the tip of the breastbone.
- Place the heel of the other hand just
above your fingers (on the side closest to
the person’s face).
- Use both hands to give compressions. Stack your other hand on
top of the one that you just put in position. Lace the fingers of both hands
together, and raise your fingers so they do not touch the chest.
Positioning your arms and body for
doing chest compressions:
- Straighten your arms, lock your elbows, and
center your shoulders directly over your hands.
- Press down in a
steady rhythm, using your body weight. The force from each thrust should go
straight down onto the breastbone, pressing it down
at least 2 in. (5 cm). Be sure to let the chest re-expand at the end of each
- If you are not trained in CPR,
give at least 100 chest compressions a minute.
Push hard and push "fast." (Fast
means to push between 1 and 2 times
a second.) If you are trained in
CPR, see Step 3: Start rescue breaths.
- Keep giving at least 100 chest compressions a
minute until help arrives or the person
is breathing normally.