How can I tell if someone needs CPR?

CPR hand placement

How can I tell if someone needs CPR?

Your friend collapses at the gym and becomes unconscious!

A bunch of people run over, but no one seems to know how to help… Should you begin CPR?

These situations can often be scary. To help you remember what to do, it’s best to keep things simple:

No Response + No Regular Breathing = NEEDS CPR

That’s it. If you remember that simple equation, you can remember how to act when someone collapses. Let’s break this down a bit more:

“Response” means a patient moves, blinks or speaks when you tap on his shoulders and ask if he’s okay.

“Breathing” means a patient’s chest moves up and down rhythmically.

  • Warning!   “Gasping” is not breathing. If you find someone who is unresponsive, and irregularly gasping – he needs CPR!

Step-by-Step: If you see someone collapse…

  1. Tap-and-Shout on his shoulders to see if he responds. If no response…

  2. Check for breathing by looking at his chest for 10 seconds to see if it rises and falls normally. If no breathing or only gasping…

  3. Send someone to call 9-1-1 and get an AED (defibrillator)

  4. Begin CPR by putting the heel of one hand in the center of the chest between the nipples. Place your second hand on top of the first. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until the patient wakes up or a CPR-certified individual arrives and takes over. If an AED (defibrillator) arrives, turn it on and follow the prompts – the machine will tell you what to do!Hands-only CPR

Note: The outline above is not a substitute for formal CPR instruction. Please visit for more information on taking a full CPR class.

Empower yourself with real knowledge on how to respond to an emergency – Take a CPR Class Today!

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