Hands-only CPR (also known as compression-only CPR) is CPR without rescue breaths. The American Heart Association has noted that “Hands-only CPR carried out by a bystander has been shown to be as effective as CPR with breaths in the first few minutes during an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest for an adult victim.”
With COVID-19 gaining global traction, Hands-Only CPR is a smart move.
Hands-Only CPR is an easy-to-learn first aid technique that helps keep victims of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) or other medical emergencies alive until medical professionals can take over. The life-saving technique keeps blood (and therefore oxygen) pumping through the victim’s body. Oxygen is needed to maintain brain and vital organ function.
How to Perform Hands-Only CPR
Step 1: Make sure the scene is safe and firmly tap the person on the shoulder. In a loud, clear voice, ask them if they’re OK. Look for signs of rhythmic, normal breathing.
Step 2: If the victim isn’t responsive, call 911 or ask another bystander to do so. If possible, ask a bystander to locate an AED.
Step 3: If the person remains unresponsive, kneel beside them and position your body so that your shoulders are directly over your hands, keeping your arms straight.
Step 4: Begin Hands-only CPR by placing the heel of one hand on the center of the chest.
Step 5: Place the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand, then lace your fingers together.
Step 6: Push hard, push fast. Use your body weight to help you administer compressions that are at least two inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100-120 compressions per minute. Be sure to let the victim’s chest rise completely between compressions.
Step 7: Continue Hands-Only CPR until you see obvious signs of life, an AED becomes available, you become too fatigued to continue, or until another trained responder or EMS professional can take over. Discontinue CPR if the scene becomes too unsafe for you to continue.
(SOURCE: American Red Cross)
Who can perform Hands-Only CPR
You can. It’s true, anyone can learn Hands-Only CPR. What will you learn in a CPR or First Aid class? Plenty! Courses cover adult, child, and infant CPR, multiple-rescuer CPR, common emergency scenarios, and so much more.
Many organizations offer “blended” courses, which enable good samaritans like yourself to complete the text-based portion of the course online at your own pace and convenience. Once you’ve passed the online course, a focused hands-on skills workshop rounds out the training.
DISCLAIMER: The information included in this post and on our website is not intended as legal advice. As legislation changes often, this post may inadvertently contain inaccurate or incomplete information. We urge you to contact your state representative should you require more information about current AED, CPR, and Good Samaritan laws in your state.