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Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Staying Alive! CPR and AED Basics

You now know the very basics of what to do in a cardiac arrest situation. My advice, Don’t hesitate and worry that you will hurt someone. If you don’t act, someone will likely die. Time matters.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, otherwise known as CPR is a lifesaving technique that everyone should know. Administering CPR to an unresponsive individual can truly be the difference between life and death. To be a street-smart Force for Health, knowing how to properly perform CPR is a must.

Before Performing CPR

Check if the person is responsive. Tap on their shoulder, and ask, “Do you need help?” or “Are you OK?” Say this loud so that you are clearly audible. Make sure that the surrounding area is safe and that there is no further exposure to potential hazards.

Call 911 or have a bystander call 911. CPR is often used to buy time for emergency medical services to arrive.

Turn the person onto their back and open the airway by slightly tilting the chin up.

Check for breathing for no more than 10 seconds. Gasping and ragged breaths are not positive signs of breathing. If there is no sign of breathing, begin administering CPR.

Red Cross CPR Method

Place your hands one on top of the other in the middle of the chest. Push down using your body weight to a compression at least 2 inches deep. Go fast and go hard. Do at least 100 compressions per minute. Listen to the song “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees to get an idea of what this rhythm is like. Do 30 compressions before attempting rescue breaths.

Rescue breaths are used to help get airflow moving again. Tilt the person’s chin up slightly and pinch their nose shut. Put your mouth over theirs to create a complete seal and breathe in to cause their chest to rise. Do two rescue breaths before beginning compressions again.  If the chest does not rise with the first breath, re-tilt the head and do another breath. If the chest does not rise again, this could indicate someone is choking.

Keep repeating these steps until you see signs of life or an EMS arrives with an automated external defibrillator (AED).

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