Three easy steps to help save a life
If you see someone collapse suddenly, check if the victim is responsive.
- Call 911 for emergency assistance if no response.
- Start chest compressions immediately
- Put person on their back
- Put the heel of your hand on the center of their chest put your other hand on top of the first
- With your arms straight, push down hard and fast
- Keep pushing until additional help arrives
- Send someone to find an AED (automated external defibrillator) if one is available. Use the AED as soon as it arrives.
- Remove the victim’s shirt, turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts
- Continue chest compressions after shocking the victim with the AED
How You Are Helping
- Chest compressions are essential to maximize the victim’s chance of survival, keeping oxygen in the blood circulating throughout the body
- If chest compressions are not provided to a SCA victim within a few minutes, they will likely die.
- No advanced therapy is more important than chest compressions. Waiting for help to arrive will decrease the chances of survival.
- Using an AED to shock the heart back into rhythm can double the chance of survival.
Put your knowledge to work in our Save-A-Life Simulator
Helpful links to resources and organizations
- American Heart Association Emergency Cardiac Care: Learn the latest in CPR
- American Red Cross: CPR news and training programs in your area
- Be The Beat: American Heart Association SCA website offers free resources to schools and students
- University of Washington School of Medicine: Learn CPR
- SHARE (Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education): Arizona Department of Health Services’ website includes CPR videos and resources for all levels of response
- Public access defibrillation programs: The HeartSafe program in Minnesota and the Minnesota State High School League’s Anyone Can Save A Life program are two great examples of how to train people in CPR and AED use.
To improve SCA survival rates within a community, the three levels of response – bystander, prehospital and hospital – must be connected and coordinated.