frequently asked questions

When should I use Hands-Only™ CPR?
If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse and they are unresponsive, Call 911 then push hard and fast on the center of their chest until help arrives.
How can I tell if someone is unresponsive?
If a teen or adult suddenly collapses, kneel down and firmly tap on both shoulders while loudly and forcefully asking "Are you OK?" If they do not respond in any way, they are unresponsive. During cardiac arrest, a person will not be breathing or will gasping, grunting or making snoring sounds. These signs combined with unresponsiveness should prompt you to: 1) Call 911, and 2) Push hard and fast on the center of their chest.
How fast do I push?
You want to push at least 100 times per minute on the center of their chest. The beat of the disco song "Stayin' Alive" is approximately 100 beats per minute so push to the beat and you'll be OK!
How hard do I push?
You should push their chest down at least 2 inches, and then allow the chest to fully rebound before pushing down again. Don't take your hands off their chest; just allow it to rise back up before pushing down again. To help you visualize, 2 inches is about the length of the short side of a credit card.
Does Hands-Only™ CPR involve mouth-to-mouth?
No. Hands Only means just that - no mouth-to-mouth required.
Can I just call 911 and let the professionals do their job?
No! When a heart stops beating, there are precious few minutes to get that person help before they will almost certainly die. As fast as Lincoln Fire & Rescue or other professionals are, they likely won't arrive for at least 3-5 minutes, which may mean the difference between life and death. In a cardiac arrest, every second truly counts so don't delay in providing Hands-Only™ CPR if necessary!
I'm trained in traditional CPR, should I use Hands-Only™ CPR?
When performed correctly, either form of CPR will help, so use the method that you are most comfortable and confident with. If, in addition to chest compressions, you are trained and can effectively deliver ventilations (mouth-to-mouth), these will likely help the patient. If you are not able to quickly and effectively deliver ventilations, focus on delivering compressions at 2 inches depth and 100 per minute.
Can I use Hands-Only™ CPR on children?
Hands-Only™ CPR is appropriate for anyone over the age of 8 years old. Usually, when a child younger than 8 years old suffers a cardiac arrest, it happens because they stopped breathing first, and then their heart stopped. In this situation, ventilations are needed in addition to chest compressions, so Hands-Only™ CPR is only reccommended for people over the age of 8.
If there is an AED available, should I use it?
Yes! When necessary, begin Hands-Only™ CPR while an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is located. AEDs are extremely valuable and you should definitely use one if available. Cardiac arrest is usually the result of improper electrical activity in your heart, and often this can only be corrected by defibrillation. CPR buys the patient time, but defibrillation is usually what brings them back. Because of this, the first step when you witness an adult suddenly collapse is to Call 911. After 911 is called, begin pushing hard and fast on the center of their chest – if no AED is available, emergency personnel will have one with them.
Is Hands-Only™ CPR accepted by doctors and professionals?
Absolutely. Hands-Only™ CPR is recommended by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross for untrained bystanders who witness a cardiac arrest. Two of the world's leading medical journals, The Lancet and the Journal of the American Medical Association, have published research showing the value of Hands-Only™ CPR.
Will Hands-Only™ CPR break ribs?
Oftentimes, yes. CPR of any kind frequently breaks ribs, but these fractures are unlikely to be life threatening. Overall, the damage from broken ribs is greatly outweighed by the value of providing CPR in a cardiac emergency: broken ribs can heal, death is irreversible.
What if I do it wrong?
On average, CPR performed incorrectly is better than no CPR at all. In the case of Hands-Only™ CPR, there are only two steps when you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse and they are unresponsive: 1) Call 911, 2) Push hard and fast on the center of the chest.
Does Hands-Only™ CPR work?
Research has shown that Hands-Only™ CPR is at least as effective as traditional CPR, which means that you can double or even triple a person's chances for survival by attempting it. In addition, bystanders are far more likely to attempt Hands-Only™ CPR, which means more lives can be saved!
Are all people who suddenly collapse having a cardiac arrest?
No, but most teens or adults who collapse suddenly and are unresponsive will be helped by providing Hands-Only™ CPR. Call 911, then push hard and fast in the center of their chest until help arrives. If the person responds to your CPR attempts by moving, talking or otherwise responding, you can stop compressions and wait for Emergency Personnel to arrive. In general, the benefits of attempting Hands-Only™ CPR outweigh the risks.
What is the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?
Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating effectively. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest, but oftentimes someone suffering a heart attack will have a pulse and will be responsive. Call 911, and if they later become unresponsive, use Hands Only CPR.