First Aid Tips
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is used in a
range of emergencies, including heart attack, choking,
and drowning. In these situations, the person is unconscious
and has stopped breathing. Before you begin CPR on
anyone, however, you should call for immediate medical
assistance. The most effective way to learn CPR is
by enrolling in a class sponsored by the American
Heart Association or the American Red Cross.
The goal of CPR is to restore circulation. If you
are unable to find a pulse in an unconscious person,
heart compression is necessary to restore circulation.
These compressions must be coordinated with mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation: the breathing delivers air to the lungs;
heart massage pumps the oxygenated blood to the brain
and other parts of the body.
To begin CPR, place yourself at right angles to the
person's chest. Find the base of the breastbone at
the center of the chest where the ribs form a V. Position
the heel of one hand on the chest immediately above
the V; with the other hand, grasp the first hand from
above, intertwining the fingers. Shift your weight
forward and upward so that your shoulders are over
your hands; straighten your arms and lock your elbows.
To begin pumping the heart, shift your weight onto
your hands to depress the person's chest 1 and 1/2
to 2 inches. Compress the chest 15 times in a slow,
even rhythm. After 15 compressions, breathe for the
person twice. Establish a regular rhythm of compressing
and breathing, counting aloud. If help does not arrive
in 1 minute and a phone is readily available, call
for an ambulance immediately--then resume CPR.