The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear the word CPR, is mouth-to-mouth or rescue breathing. The idea of placing one’s lips on a total stranger’s lips is enough to make most people say no to performing CPR. However, it is possible to save an individual’s life without performing rescue breaths. By pumping hard and fast in the center of an individual’s chest you are acting as the heart and restoring blood flow to the brain and other organs which can save a life. This method of CPR is referred to as Chest Compressions Only. Follow the steps below to perform this method of CPR.
Step 1: Assess the Scene
Before responding to an emergency, be sure the scene is safe for you! Look around for potential life threatening safety hazards. Once you determine the scene is safe, proceed with assisting the victim.
Step 2: Assess the Victim
Unresponsiveness, not breathing, and no pulse are the three things we look for in a victim to determine if CPR is needed.
When approaching the victim, check for responsiveness by asking, “Are you OK?” Also, you may tap the victim on the shoulder. If the person does not respond, assume they are unresponsive.
Next, you’ll need to verify if the person is breathing. To verify breathing, you’ll need to scan the victim’s chest, looking for signs of chest rise. If a person is gasping or struggling for air, you should assess them as not breathing, since this is not normal breathing.
Finally, verify if there is a pulse by checking the carotid pulse in the neck of an adult or child with your two fingers gently. Never use your thumbs since they have their own pulse. However, if you do not know how to properly check a pulse skip this step to save time.
Step 3: Call for Help
After determining the victim is unresponsive, dial 911. If you did not witness the victim collapse, are alone, and without a phone or help is not readily available. Perform two minutes of CPR before seeking help. If you witnessed the collapse you can attempt to go seek help however, time is sensitive, and you will need to return to the victim quickly. If an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is accessible use it immediately.
Step 4: Begin CPR
To begin CPR, place the heel of your dominant hand in the center of the victim’s chest. Place your other hand over your dominant hand and lock your fingers. Keep your arms straight, and begin pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest. Push down at least two inches on an adult and no more than two inches on a child. You’ll need to deliver 100-120 chest compressions per minute. To maintain this rate, perform compressions to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. This will allow for complete chest recoil. If the chest does not recoil completely, the heart may not refill adequately with oxygen rich blood. If you have help available switch compressors every two minutes as you will get tired.
Step 5: Use an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator)
It is necessary to use a defibrillator during sudden cardiac arrest, to restore a normal heart rhythm. Once an AED arrives, immediately stop compressions and begin powering on the defibrillator. The defibrillator has voice prompts and will instruct you on how to use it. After you deliver a shock you will have to resume compressions. Once, you begin using an AED, do not turn it off, until EMS arrives.
Step 6: Arrival of EMS
Upon the arrival of EMS, be sure to let them take over and inform them with all the information they ask for. They will take the victim to the hospital for more advanced treatment.
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