Anybody can and anybody should learn how to perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation): According to the American Heart Association, a stunning 70% of Americans don’t know how what to do if somebody is experiencing a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they forgot the exact technique. This is especially alarming since almost 90% of cardiac arrests occur at home — where patients depend on the immediate respiratory care response of their family members. In brief, knowing how to perform CPR can save the life of a loved one someday.

While 400,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals each year in the U.S. alone, hands-on CPR can actually double or triple an adult’s chance of survival. However, you need to act quickly. At four minutes without oxygen, the patient will suffer from permanent brain damage. At eight to ten minutes, the patient can die. Almost 90% of cardiac arrest patients die because no one performed CPR at the scene.

Before You Start CPR

First of all, check if the patient can respond by tapping them on the shoulder and shouting “Are you okay?” If they don’t respond, call for medical emergency services immediately. If others are around, instruct them to call 911 and if you’re alone, do it yourself. If the patient is an animal, call the closest animal hospital. If you happen to be near an AED (defibrillator), read the instructions and give one shock to the patient (this applies to humans only).

CPR Steps For Adults and Children 9 and Older: Hands-Only CPR

Lay the patient on their back and kneel next to their neck and shoulders.

Place the heel of one hand on the center of the patient’s chest.

Place the heel of your other hand over the first and lace fingers together.

Keep your elbows straight and align your shoulders directly over your hands.

Begin compression:

As hard as possible

At least 100x/minute

Allow the chest to rise fully between compressions.

TIP: Give compressions to the beat of disco hit “Stayin’ Alive”!

CPR Steps For Younger Children and Infants

Tilt the head back a bit and lift chin to open the airway and check for breathing.

If there’s no breathing, give either of these two rescue breaths:

Child: Pinch the nose shut and make a complete seal over their mouth

Infant: Make a complete seal over their mouth and nose.

Blow in for one second, so the chest visibly rises and repeat this once.

Give 30 chest compressions (100x/minute):

Child: Push with one or two hands about two inches deep

Infant: Push with two to three fingers about 1.5 inches deep.

Repeat these steps three to four times.