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How-To: Hands-Only CPR

Learn how and when it's important to do Hands-Only CPR.

How-To: Hands-Only CPR

Hands-Only CPR is a simplified technique that focuses solely on chest compressions.

Hands-Only CPR is recommended for use on teens or adults whom you see suddenly collapse.  It’s an easy-to-remember and effective option for people who have been trained in CPR but are afraid to help because they are not confident that they can remember and perform the steps of conventional CPR.

When a teen or adult suddenly collapses from cardiac arrest, they usually have enough oxygen to keep vital organs healthy for the first few minutes.  Providing chest compressions that are hard and fast enough will help pump blood to the heart and brain.

Studies have shown that Hands-Only CPR is just as effective as conventional CPR with breaths when given in the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest.  Breaths are not as important as chest compressions because the oxygen level in the blood remains adequate for the first several minutes after cardiac arrest.

However, there are times when conventional CPR with breaths may be more beneficial, such as for infants, children, victims of drowning, drug overdose, collapse due to breathing problems or prolonged cardiac arrest.  Remember to call 911 for assistance when performing CPR.  Keep in mind that the recommended rate for chest compressions is 100 to 120 compressions per minute.

Here’s how to perform Hands-Only CPR:

  • Check the Scene and Person.
  • Ensure the area is safe.
  • Tap the person’s shoulder and check for responsiveness.
  • Look for rhythmic, normal breathing.

Call 911 for Assistance:

  • If there’s no response or normal breathing, call 911 immediately.
  • Ask a bystander to call if they are able.

Begin Compressions:

  • Place the heel of one hand on the center of the victim’s chest.
  • Interlock your other hand on top.
  • Push hard and fast — aim for at least 2 inches deep at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
  • Allow the chest to return to its normal position between compressions.

When training to the beat of a familiar song, we are more likely to remember the correct rate of compressions. "Stayin’ Alive" by the Bee Gees, “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé/Jay-Z, “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira” or “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash are a few good examples, including "Baby Shark!" 

Visit to watch a video on how to perform Hands-Only CPR.

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Remember, you can make a life-saving difference by performing Hands-Only CPR! 🌟 If you need more information, feel free to ask!