When to Perform CPR
Just as important as knowing HOW to perform CPR is knowing WHEN to perform it - and when NOT to! Before forcing air into someone's mouth and crushing their chest through cardiopulmonary resuscitation, there's a few quick but important things to do...
Check the Scene - make sure it is safe for you to help the person. Don't become a victim yourself by rushing to help someone without being sure you will be safe. Some examples of this are victims in contact with electric wires, victims in traffic, or victims in fires.
Check the Person - make sure this person needs CPR.
- If the person is conscious, they do not need CPR. They may need choking help or first aid, but not CPR.
- If they appear to be unconscious, tap their shoulder and shout at them "Are you OK?"
They may have just been asleep or zoning out - that would have been embarrassing to start CPR!
If there is no response, then this is an emergency and 9-1-1 should be called.
Check for Breathing - don't move the person, but look, listen, and feel for breathing for 10 seconds.
- If there is breathing, no CPR is needed. Other aid may be required.
Check Airway - carefully roll the person onto their back, tilt the head back and lift the chin. This is to help open the airway and may allow breathing to resume. Check for breathing again.
- If there is breathing, no CPR is needed. Keep the airway open and check if other aid is required.
- If there's no breathing, then CPR is needed.
It may seem like a lot of steps, but all that checking only takes about 15 seconds at the most and it makes you certain that cardiopulmonary resuscitation is really needed by this person. Now that you know he or she needs CPR, you've got to actually do the CPR