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CPR and First Aid Training Red Cross

Updated on November 5, 2011

Accidents happen everyday. Your child falls off their bike, you stub your toe or nick you finger with a dull knife. Easy enough, wash the area, apply some ointment and patch it up with a band-aid . But, what do you do in situations that you are not skilled to handle?

First Aid is essential in our lives. Without first aide and CPR many who wait for the emergency personnel to arrive, may have waited too long. You need to prepare yourself for the unexpected.

By all means, it is not my intention to scare you. But in all honesty? There is nothing scarier than being in a situation of urgency and not being able to help. Before becoming a nurse, I had an experience at the local mall. An older lady was walking and tripped. She hit her head so hard on the floor that it still makes me cringe. She was unresponsive and bleeding. Honestly, I kinda freaked out! All I could do was hold her hand, try and wake her and wait for help. Lucky for her there were people near by that knew what to do. As she was eventually taken away by the paramedics, I was wishing I knew too.

The ABC's of First Aid

First Aid is defined as 'emergency care given before regular medical aid can be obtained'(Wikipedia) Unfortunately, many people die as a result of having no First Aid prior to emergency care personnel arrive. With an injury or illness, the first minutes are the most important.

When you are the first on "the scene" of an injury or illness, remember your ABC's.

Airway: Make sure the victim has a clear airway. Free of obstruction that can cause choking.

Breathing: Determine whether the victim is breathing. If you can not see it by watching the chest go up and down, lean in and listen. Also, try to feel the air expelled against your cheek. If you still cannot determine breathing, begin rescue breathing. (that will be explained later)

Cirrculation: Check pulse. UNLESS THE VICTIM IS NOT BREATHING! If the victim is not breathing it is time to begin rescue breathing and chest compressions. This is when CPR becomes necessary.

CPR Saves Lives


First off I want to say that CPR should be taught by a proffessional and you should attend classes. I will just tell you the basics, but the classes are more in-depth and gives you an opportunity to practice, which is so important.

When first arriving on the scene, do your ABC's as mentioned above. When it is determined that the victim is not breathing, you need to begin with two "rescue breaths" According to The Red Cross,  If you are not comfortable doing rescue breaths, then just do chest compressions. Studies have shown that CPR can work well with chest compressions alone.

To do rescue breaths:

  • Put one hand on the person's forehead, push with your palm to tilt the person's head back, and then pinch the person's nostrils shut with your thumb and finger.
  • Put the fingers of your other hand under the bony part of the lower jaw near the chin. Tilt the chin upward to keep the airway open.
  • Take a normal breath and place your mouth over the person's mouth, making a tight seal. 
  • Blow into the person's mouth for 1 second, and watch to see if the person's chest rises.
  • If the chest does not rise, tilt the person's head again, and give another breath.

Demo on Chest Compressions

  • Kneel next to the person. Use your fingers to locate the end of the breastbone, where the ribs come together. Place two fingers at the tip of the breastbone.
  • Put the heel of one hand just above your fingers on the center of the person's chest between the nipples.
  • Use both hands to give compressions. Stack your other hand on top of the one you just placed.
  • Inter-twine your fingers of both hands together
  • Straighten your arms, lock your elbows, and center your shoulders directly over your hands.
  • Press down using the weight of your body.
  • Give 30 compressions at a rate of 100 compressions a minute.
  • After 30 compressions, give 2 rescue breaths.
  • Keep repeating the cycle until help arrives.If the victim begins to breathe on his own, stop.

If you do not give rescue breathes, continue with the chest compressions.



An AED is an Automated external defibrillator. An AED is a small, portable device that analyzes the heart's rhythm for any abnormalities and, if necessary, directs the rescuer to deliver an electrical shock to the heart of someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. This shock, called defibrillation, may help the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm. This device can be used by anyone as it gives you step-by-step instructions. However, it is of the utmost importance to be trained properly.

All American Red Cross Adult and Child CPR courses contain defibrillation skills and information. I urge you to enroll in a class today. The link is provided.

****This is not intended as a replacement of proper training in First Aid or CPR. Learn and Know First Aide and CPR!If you are reading this in an emergency- Call 911!


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