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How to use CPR or an AED to help save a life

Would you know what to do if someone around you went into cardiac arrest? Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) are critical for a person who experiences sudden cardiac arrest outside of the hospital. More than 350,000 people have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year, according to the American Heart Association, and almost 90 percent of those people do not survive.

But quick action can make a difference. Here’s what steps to take in response to a potential sudden cardiac arrest emergency.

1. Know the signs of sudden cardiac arrest in order to react quickly

Sudden cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning. Victims will fall to the ground or collapse, become unresponsive and will not breathe normally, if at all.

2. Call 911 as soon as possible

Time is of the essence. If you think someone around you is experiencing cardiac arrest, don’t hesitate to call 911.

3. Start CPR as quickly as possible

Bystanders should provide high-quality chest compressions by pushing hard and fast (approximately 100 beats per minute) in the middle of the victim’s chest, with minimal interruptions.

4. Use an AED if available

AEDs are increasingly available in public locations, such as office buildings, airports, gyms and libraries. These machines give verbal instructions and, once pads are attached to the chest, the AED does the rest of the work.

For a demonstration of how to perform CPR and use an AED, watch this video from the American Red Cross. Remember, knowing this could save a life one day.

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How to use CPR or an AED to help save a life