Mastering Hands-Only CPR: Step-by-Step Guide to Saving Lives


Hands-Only CPR is a simplified version of cardiopulmonary resuscitation that focuses on providing chest compressions to individuals experiencing cardiac arrest. It eliminates the need for rescue breaths, making it more accessible and easier for bystanders to perform in emergency situations. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to perform Hands-Only CPR, empowering you with the knowledge and skills to potentially save lives. These insights are derived from MyCPR NOW, an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive CPR training and empowering individuals to take immediate action during cardiac emergencies.

1. Assess the Situation:
When you come across a person who has collapsed and is unresponsive, quickly assess the situation to ensure your safety and the safety of others. If the person is not responding and not breathing normally, it is likely a cardiac arrest situation, and immediate intervention is necessary.

2. Call for Emergency Assistance:
Before starting Hands-Only CPR, call the emergency services number in your country or ask someone nearby to call. Provide the accurate location and details of the situation. Ensure that professional help is on the way while you initiate the life-saving steps.

3. Position Yourself Correctly:
To perform effective chest compressions, position yourself correctly:

a. Kneel beside the person who needs CPR, near their chest.
b. Ensure the person is lying on a firm and flat surface, preferably the ground or a hard floor.
c. Clear the area around the person to provide enough space for performing compressions.

4. Perform Chest Compressions:
Follow these steps to deliver effective chest compressions:

a. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the person's chest, between the nipples.
b. Place your other hand on top of the first hand and interlock your fingers.
c. Position your shoulders directly above your hands and keep your elbows straight.
d. Use your upper body weight to press down firmly on the chest, compressing at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep.
e. Allow the chest to recoil fully between compressions without lifting your hands.

5. Compress at the Right Rate:
It is crucial to maintain an adequate compression rate to provide effective circulation. Aim for a compression rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. You can match the rate to the beat of the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees or "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen.

6. Continue Compressions Until Help Arrives:
Continue performing chest compressions without interruptions until professional help arrives or until you become too exhausted to continue. It is essential to maintain the circulation of oxygenated blood to the vital organs.

7. Follow Instructions from Emergency Dispatchers:
Emergency dispatchers may provide guidance over the phone, including instructions to continue Hands-Only CPR or to initiate additional steps such as using an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available nearby.

8. Be Prepared for Fatigue:
Chest compressions can be physically demanding, and fatigue may set in quickly. If there is another bystander available, consider taking turns performing compressions every two minutes to maintain the quality of CPR.

9. Encourage Others to Offer Help:
If there are other bystanders present, encourage them to offer assistance. They can either call emergency services, locate an AED, or provide support and encouragement during the resuscitation efforts.

10. Understand the Limitations of Hands-Only CPR:
Hands-Only CPR is effective for adults and teenagers who have experienced sudden cardiac arrest. However, it may not be suitable for infants, children, or individuals with respiratory conditions. In such cases, traditional CPR with rescue breaths is recommended.


Hands-Only CPR is a simplified and effective technique that focuses on providing chest compressions to individuals experiencing cardiac arrest. By quickly assessing the situation, calling emergency services, positioning yourself correctly, and performing chest compressions at the right rate, you can help maintain circulation until professional help arrives. MyCPR NOW emphasizes the importance of Hands-Only CPR as a life-saving intervention and encourages individuals to take CPR training to build confidence and readiness in emergency situations. Remember, your immediate action can significantly increase the chances of survival for someone in cardiac arrest.

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