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CPR for an Adult (Over 8 years)

(757) 668-7000

CPR is the act of pushing hard and fast on the chest and giving breaths to someone whose heart has stopped pumping blood. Pushing on the chest pumps blood to the brain and heart. Lay rescuers are taught Hands Only™ CPR for adults. You do not give breaths for adult Hands Only CPR. For CPR, a person is considered an adult when he/she starts puberty.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED): An AED has computer in it that tells you if a shock is needed to make the heart work properly. The best chance of saving a person’s life is to start CPR right away and use an AED within a few minutes.  Use the AED as soon as you have it. Turn it on and follow the prompts. Use the adult pads if both child and adult pads are available.

A person who “responds” will move, speak, blink or react in some way when you tap him and ask if he is OK.

A person who does not “respond” is not breathing and does nothing when you tap him and ask if he is OK.


  1. Make sure the scene is safe.
  2. Gently tap the adult and shout, “Are you OK?” to see if he responds.

PHONE 9-1-1 and GET AN AED:

  1. Yell for help. If help is available, tell him to phone 9-1-1 first, and to look for an AED.
  2. If you are alone, phone 9-1-1. Get an AED if one is available and you can return quickly.
    • Use the AED as soon as you have it.
    • Turn on the AED and follow the prompts.


  1. Turn the person onto his back and place him on a flat, hard surface.
  2. Check breathing – No response + no breathing or only gasping = Give CPR.


  1. Move clothes out of the way.
  2. Hand placement for pushes:
  3. Place the heel of one hand on the lower half of the breastbone.
  4. Put the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand and interlock fingers.
  5. Push hard and fast on the chest.
    • Push straight down on the chest about 2 inches.
    • Push at a rate of at least 100 pushes per minute.
    • Let the chest come back to its normal position between pushes.


  1. If an AED is brought to you, turn it on and follow the prompts. If you do not have an AED, keep giving chest pushes.
  2. If someone else knows CPR, you can take turns giving pushes.
    • Kneel on opposite sides of the person and switch about every 2 minutes (200 pushes each).
    • When it is the other person’s turn, check the depth, speed and technique of his pushes.
    • Do not stop CPR until the person responds or someone with advanced skills arrives.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 05/2012

(757) 668-7000