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First Aid & Emergencies

Guidelines for CPR and Automated External Defibrillators

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CPR Step by Step

CPR should be used when a person stops breathing and his heart has stopped beating. CPR keeps oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and heart until a defibrillator or emergency team arrives to get the heart beating normally. When started immediately following cardiac arrest, CPR can double or triple the victim's chance of survival.

Here is how to do CPR for an unresponsive adult, child, or infant -- with the exception of newborns:

  1. Immediately call 911 and locate a defibrillator, if available. Don't be deterred if you don't know how to perform CPR: 911 operators are trained to walk people through the steps over the phone.
  2. After you have called 911, start CPR immediately. Remember CAB:
  • C - Compressions: Place the heel of your hand on the center of the victim's chest. Put your other hand on top of the first with your fingers interlaced. Press down so you compress the chest at least 2 inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants. One hundred times a minute or even a little faster is optimal. (That's about the same rhythm as the beat of the Bee Gee's song "Stayin' Alive.")
  • A - Airway: If you've been trained in CPR, you can now open the airway with a head-tilt and chin-lift maneuver.
  • B - Breathing: Pinch the victim's nose closed. Take a normal breath, cover the victim's mouth with yours to create an airtight seal, and then give two, one-second breaths as you watch for the chest to rise. Continue compressions and breaths -- 30 compressions, two breaths -- until help arrives.

Use an automated external defibrillator, if available. Attach it to the victim and use as soon as available. Follow the instructions supplied by the defibrillator. (Most machines are programmed to talk you through the process, or a 911 operator can assist you.) Minimize interruptions in chest compressions before and after each shock. Resume CPR beginning with compressions immediately after each shock.

CPR Tips:

  • Chest compressions are extremely important. Even if you are not comfortable performing rescue breaths on a stranger, be sure to do chest compressions.
  • It is normal to feel popping and snapping when you begin chest compressions.
  • Try not to let your hands bounce when you are doing compressions. Let the chest fully recoil but keep your hands in place on the chest at all times.

 

How to Operate an Automated External Defibrillator

An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is very simple to operate. If you can press an "on" button, you can use an AED.

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