The ABC's of CPR
The first step of CPR is to assess the victim and check responsiveness. Gently shake the victim and shout, "Are you OK?" If the person answers, CPR is not needed. If the person is unresponsive or conscious and showing signs of a stroke or heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately and initiate the ABC's which include:
A-Airway- If the person is unresponsive, open the airway as soon as you've called 911. If the victim has no head or neck injuries, gently tilt the head back by lifting the chin with one hand and pushing down on the forehead with the other. Place your ear near the mouth and listen and feel for breath while looking at the chest to see if it is rising and falling.
B-Breaths- If the person is not breathing normally, give two rescue breaths. Keeping the victim's head tilted, pinch the nose closed and place your mouth around their mouth. Give two slow, full breaths (about two seconds each), while watching to see that the chest rises with each breath. After delivering two breaths, check for signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing, movement or responsiveness. Keeping the head tilted, once again place your ear near the mouth and listen, feel, and look for signs of breathing while you watch for movement. The American Heart Association does not recommend trying to find a pulse, which can be difficult for lay people and delay chest compressions.
C-Chest Compressions- If no circulation is detected, begin chest compressions. Place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest (right between the nipples), with the heel of the second hand on top. Position your body directly over your hands, elbows locked. Give 15 compressions by pushing the breastbone down about two inches, allowing the chest to return to normal between compressions. Use the full weight of your body and DO NOT bend your elbows. After 15 compressions, make sure the victim's head is tilted, and give two more rescue breaths. Repeat this "pump and blow" cycle three more times, for a total of 60 compressions.
Re-check for signs of circulation
If no signs of circulation, repeat the pump-and-blow cycle until circulation resumes or help arrives.
When performing CPR, keep in mind that the person you are working on is clinically dead: You cannot make the situation any worse. Don't be afraid to put your whole weight behind each compression - a cracked rib can be repaired, dead brain cells cannot.