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First Aid and Emergencies

Breathing Emergencies

Rescue Breathing and CPR - CPR Ready Reference

Who needs to be trained to help a person who is having a breathing emergency? You do. If you have children, drive a car, shop at the mall, or go anyplace where a person may be in a life-threatening situation, you

need to know how to respond. An added benefit is the confidence you will have when you know you can help a person when it matters most.

The guidelines presented in this book are not meant to replace formal training from a certified instructor. They are here for you to use to refresh your memory between trainings or to read aloud to a person who is performing a rescue procedure. (Note, however, that your first responsibility as a helper is to call 911 or emergency services and to make the area safe for the victim and the rescuer.)

Rescue Breathing and CPR

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Warning: CPR that is done improperly or on a person whose heart is still beating can cause serious injury. Never perform CPR unless:

  • The person has stopped breathing.

  • The person has no heartbeat.

  • No one with more training in CPR is present.

  • For basic life support, think ABC: A irway, B reathing, and C irculation, in that order. You must establish an open airway to help the victim breathe. Then you must give rescue breaths before you can begin the chest compressions, which will help circulate blood for a victim whose heart has stopped beating.

    Step 1: Check for consciousness. Tap the victim on the shoulder and shout, "Are you okay?"

    If the victim does not respond:

    Step 2: Check for breathing. Look, listen, and feel for breathing for 5 seconds. Kneel next to the victim with your head close to his or her head.

    If the victim is not breathing (or if you can't tell), roll the victim onto his or her back. If the victim may have a

    spinal injury, gently roll the victim's head, neck, and shoulders together as a unit until the victim is on his or her back.

    Step 3: Open the airway.

    Sometimes, just opening the airway will allow the victim to breathe. If the victim does not start breathing, begin rescue breathing immediately.

    Airway: Position the victim's head to open the airway.

    Step 4: Begin rescue breathing.

    Step 5: Check for circulation. Locate the carotid artery in the victim's neck:

    If there is no pulse , begin chest compressions. See Step 6.

    If there is a pulse, continue to give rescue breaths until help arrives or until the victim starts to breathe on his or her own. If the victim starts breathing again, he or she still needs to be seen by a health professional.

    Give rescue breaths:

    Step 6: Begin chest compressions. Adult (age 9 and older):

    Child (age 1 through 8 years) :

    Infant (younger than 1 year):

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    CPR Ready Reference





    If the victim has a pulse, give 1 rescue breath every:

    5 seconds

    3 seconds

    3 seconds

    If the victim has no pulse, position hands to do chest compressions:

    2 fingers'-width above tip of sternum

    2 fingers'-width above tip of sternum

    Place fingers 1 finger-width below nipple line

    Do chest compressions with:

    2 hands stacked; heel of 1 hand on sternum

    Heel of 1 hand on sternum

    2 or 3 fingers on sternum

    Rate of compressions per minute:

    80 to 100



    Compression depth:

    3.75 to 5 cm (1.5 to 2 inches)

    2.5 to 3.75 cm (1 to 1.5 inches)

    1.25 to 2.5 cm (0.5 to 1 inch)

    Ratio of compressions to breaths:

    1 rescuer




    2 rescuers