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There are two forms of adult CPR — hands-only, which is chest compressions only, and chest compressions with breaths. If you see an adult who suddenly collapsed and they are not in your family, the hands-only method is recommended.

Step 1 - Check for Responsiveness

  • Firmly tap the person on the shoulder to gauge their responsiveness while asking, loudly, if they are OK.
  • If there’s no response from the person, call 911.
  • If you’re not alone, ask someone else to call for help and retrieve an AED.
Adult CPR

Step 2 - Position Your Body

  • Kneel closely beside the person who has collapsed, and make sure they are face-up on a firm, flat surface.
  • Place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest between the nipples.
  • Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand, and then interlace your fingers.
  • Position your body so that your knees are close to the person and your shoulders are directly over your hands, keeping your arms straight.
adult cpr positioning

Step 3 - Begin Chest Compressions

  • Use your body weight to help you deliver compressions that are at least 2 inches deep. Keep your arms straight.
  • Push hard at a rate of at least 100-120 compressions per minute. Make sure to allow the chest to recoil and rise completely in between each compression.
  • For reference, the songs Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees or Baby Shark Dance by Pinkfong are around 100 beats per minute.
adult cpr compressions

Step 4 -Repeat as Needed

  • Keep pushing and continue hands-only CPR until either you see a response or obvious signs of life, or a trained responder arrives and can take over.
  • Hands-only CPR can be physically exhausting for those performing it, so please take turns with anyone else that is present.
adult cpr repeat