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CPR Saves Lives


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including a heart attack, near drowning, or any situation in which breathing or heartbeat has stopped. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross encourage everyone to take a CPR class; the short training session could save a life.

Even if you are untrained, the AHA recommends that you still perform CPR if the need arises—it’s better to do something than to do nothing at all. If you have access to a phone, call 911 or your local emergency number before beginning CPR; get the automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available.

According to the AHA:

  • If you are trained and confident in your abilities, check to see if there is a pulse and breathing. If there is no breathing or a pulse within 10 seconds, begin chest compressions. Start CPR with 30 chest compressions before giving two rescue breaths.
  • If you are untrained in CPR, provide hands-only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute until paramedics arrive. **
  • If you are trained but out of practice and not confident in your abilities, perform hands-only CPR with chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 a minute. **

When the heart stops, the lack of oxygenated blood can cause brain damage in only a few minutes; a person may die within eight to 10 minutes. By performing CPR you can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until more definitive medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm.

To learn CPR properly, take an accredited first-aid training course, including CPR and how to use an AED.

**Hands-Only CPR: Position person flat on hard surface. Place the heel of one hand over the center of the person’s chest and place your other hand on top of the first hand; keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands. Push hard and fast 100 to 120 times per minute (use the beat of a familiar song that has 100 to 120 beats per minute such as “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees or the Star Wars "Imperial March").