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Saving Lives Made Simple: Hands-Only CPR for Every Layperson

Emergencies can happen at any time, and being prepared to act swiftly can be the difference between life and death. Cardiac arrest is a life-threatening event that can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. In such situations, immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is vital until EMS can arrive. While “traditional” CPR with mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-mask resuscitation can be intimidating, there is a simpler approach that everyone can learn: Hands-Only CPR. In this blog post, we will guide you through the essentials of Hands-Only CPR, empowering you to make a difference and potentially save a life.

Created by Firefighter/Paramedic Adam McElhaney

What is Hands-Only CPR?

Hands-Only CPR is a simplified version of traditional CPR that focuses solely on chest compressions, omitting mouth-to-mouth and/or mouth-to-mask rescue breaths. It is an effective and easy-to-learn technique that increases the chances of survival for someone experiencing cardiac arrest.


Why Hands-Only CPR?

Hands-Only CPR offers several advantages, making it an ideal approach for laypersons:


· Simplicity: The elimination of rescue breaths simplifies the technique, making it easier to remember and apply during emergencies.


· Widely Applicable: Hands-Only CPR is suitable for adults, children, and infants.


· Less Reluctance: Many people are hesitant to perform mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-mask resuscitation on strangers due to concerns about infections or reluctance to make direct contact. Hands-Only CPR removes these barriers and increases the likelihood of a bystander stepping in to help.


· Quick Response: Chest compressions alone can effectively sustain the circulation of oxygenated blood to vital organs, buying precious time until professional help arrives. For every 1 minute of downtime in cardiac arrest, survivability decreases by 10%.


How to Perform Hands-Only CPR:

· Assess the Situation: Ensure your safety and that of others present. Check if the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally. Shout for help and call EMS immediately. Remember, with today’s smart devices, you may be able to initiate 911 while performing CPR through voice commands or through your smart watch.


· Position the Person: Place the person flat on their back on a firm surface. If the person is on a couch or mattress, it’s imperative to get them on the ground – do not worry about hurting the person as you move them, chest compressions should take the utmost priority.


· Hand Placement: Kneel beside the person and locate the center of their chest, between the nipples. Position the heel of one hand on this spot, with the other hand on top, interlocking your fingers.


· Compression Technique: Keep your elbows straight and locked in position, lean forward, and use your upper body weight to deliver chest compressions. Push hard and fast, aiming for a rate of around 100-120 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to fully recoil between compressions.


· Continue Until Help Arrives: Continue performing chest compressions until professional help arrives or the person shows signs of responsiveness. If you are exhausted, switch with someone else who can provide assistance.


· Remember, each compression should be approximately two inches deep, and do not interrupt compressions except in the case of an AED (automated external defibrillator) becoming available.


The Hebron Fire Protection District responds to an average of two cardiac arrests per month, during most circumstances, bystander CPR is not being performed. While not all cardiac arrests have a positive outcome, those that do typically involve early CPR and defibrillation – be the difference! Remember, any CPR attempt is better than no CPR at all. So, take the initiative to learn Hands-Only CPR, spread awareness among your family and friends, and together, let's help our community become better prepared to save lives.


Over the next few summer months, we will be in some of our neighborhoods distributing the door hangers (see picture in blog post above)!



May 22, 2023


Brandon Schoborg, Captain

Hebron Fire Protection District

bschoborg@hebronfire.org

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