How to perform hands-only CPR

How to perform Hands-Only CPR

When someone collapses and becomes unresponsive, a Sudden Cardiac Arrest event has likely occurred, meaning time is of the essence. Are you prepared to act fast? Are you equipped with knowledge of CPR?

While many fear stepping in to help while awaiting paramedics, this often results in the death of the victim because of the amount of time that passes before action is taken. Survival rates remain at 10% in America because so few people are prepared to act.

Related: How to respond to an emergency

Immediately calling 9-1-1 and beginning Hands-Only CPR can double or even triple a victim’s chances of survival.  

What is Hands-Only CPR?

A simple version of normal CPR [Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation], this hands-only model does not use mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths but instead focuses on hard and fast chest compressions to keep blood and oxygen flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

Hands-Only CPR has been proven to be as effective as conventional CPR. And it is repeatedly shown to be the method bystanders are most confident in using.

CPR is crucial in the Cardiac Chain of Survival. Performing hands-only CPR keeps the blood circulating until the victim’s hart can be resuscitated through the use of an Automated External Defibrillator, either with a nearby public AED or by paramedics.

With EMS response times often 10 minutes or greater, immediate action is necessary for survival. For every minute that passes after a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the victim loses 10% of survival.

Related: How do I respond to a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

How to perform Hands-Only CPR

In the event you find someone who is unresponsive or has collapsed, follow these crucial steps, provided by the American Red Cross:

How to perform hands-only CPR

1. Call 9-1-1 immediately or instruct someone nearby to do so.

2. Interlace your hands on the center of the chest

Kneel beside the unresponsive person, and interlace your hands with the heel of your bottom hand on the center of the victim’s chest.

3. Push hard and fast

Hands-only CPR. Push hard and fast at the rate of 120 beats per minute.

With your shoulders directly above your hands, keep your arms straight as you use the weight of your body to push hard and fast on the person’s chest at the rate of 100-120 beats per minute.

Use a rate of 100-120 beats per minute for CPR

The American Heart Association promotes the use of songs such as “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees“Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira, or “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash, which include this 100-120 beats per minute time. 

Compressions should be 2-inches deep, keeping in mind to allow the chest to rise in-between compressions.

4. Don’t Stop

Don’t stop! Continue administering compressions until you signs of life are seen, or until another trained professional is able to take over.

If available, use an AED on the victim.

To learn more about the importance of hands-only CPR, check out this video provided by the American Heart Association. Find more helpful resources at

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