7 CPR Steps Everyone Should Know

Doing CPR right away can double or even triple a person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest. Learn these CPR steps now so you know what to do if someone if ever experiencing a life-threatening emergency.

how to do CPR opener

If a person is not breathing, his or her heartbeat will stop. These CPR steps (chest compressions and rescue breaths) will help circulation and get oxygen into the body. Early use of an AED, if one is available, can restart a heart with an abnormal rhythm.

First, open a person’s airway to check if they are breathing (don’t begin CPR if a patient is breathing normally). Then, get help. If you are not alone, send someone to call for help as soon as you have checked breathing and have the person confirm the call has been made. While help is on the way, follow these CPR steps:

1. Position your hand (below)

how to do CPR

Make sure the patient is lying on his back on a firm surface. Kneel beside him and place the heel of your hand on the center of the chest.

2. Interlock fingers (below)

how to do CPR

Keeping your arms straight, cover the first hand with the heel of your other hand and interlock the fingers of both hands together. Keep your fingers raised so they do not touch the patient’s chest or rib cage.

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3. Give chest compressions (below)

how to do CPR

Lean forward so that your shoulders are directly over the patient’s chest and press down on the chest about two inches. Release the pressure, but not your hands, and let the chest come back up.

Repeat to give 30 compressions at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. Not sure what that really means? Push to beat of the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” (about 100 to 120 beats per minute).

Note: Learn more about “Hands-Only CPR” from the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

4. Open the airway (below)how to do CPR

Move to the patient’s head. Tilt his head and lift his chin to open the airway again. Let his mouth fall open slightly.

5. Give rescue breaths (below)

how to do CPR

Pinch the nostrils closed with the hand that was on the forehead and support the patient’s chin with your other hand. Take a normal breath, put your mouth over the patient’s, and blow until you can see his chest rise.

6. Watch chest fall

how to do CPR

Remove your mouth from the patient’s and look along the chest, watching the chest fall. Repeat steps five and six once.

7. Repeat chest compressions and rescue breaths

how to do CPR

Place your hands on the chest again and repeat the cycle of 30 chest compressions, followed by two rescue breaths. Continue the cycle.

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quintessential guide to handling emergenciesGet more information about handling health emergencies and natural disasters in the book Reader’s Digest Quintessential Guide to Handling Emergencies. You’ll get must-know tips and tactics for preparing your home, stocking the right supplies, preventing and handling accidents, coping with medical situations, and keeping your family safe.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest Quintessential Guide to Handling Emergencies

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