Unconscious and Not Breathing

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How to Perform CPR in an Emergency

Encountering an individual who is not breathing is a critical emergency. This guide details the steps to take in such scenarios, focusing on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to preserve life until medical help arrives.

**Initial Safety Measures**

If you suspect the cause of unconsciousness is due to electrocution, such as with a lawnmower, first ensure the power source is disconnected. Seek immediate assistance while ensuring any dangerous items are safely moved aside.

Assessing the Situation

Approach the person cautiously. Identify yourself and check for responsiveness by gently tapping on their collarbone, saying, "Hi, I'm [Your Name], a first aider. I'm here to help."

**Opening the Airway**

To check for breathing, perform a head tilt and chin lift. Place one hand on the forehead and the other under the chin, gently tilting the head back. Listen and watch for breathing for up to 10 seconds.

**Calling for Help**

If no breathing is detected, and you are alone, you may need to leave the person to call for emergency services. If someone else is present, instruct them to make the call. Ensure they provide accurate details about the location and nature of the emergency.

**Performing CPR**

Begin CPR if the person is not breathing:

  • Position yourself beside the person.
  • Place the heel of one hand on the center of their chest and your other hand on top.
  • Press down firmly and quickly, aiming for a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • After every 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths if you are trained to do so.

This procedure helps maintain blood circulation and oxygenation throughout the body.

Coordinating with Others

If another person is available, have them assist by alternating CPR duties every two minutes to maintain the intensity and effectiveness of the compressions. They can also guide paramedics to the location when they arrive.

Performing CPR is physically demanding; sharing the task can help preserve your strength and increase the effectiveness of your efforts.