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Most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. As a bystander, don’t be afraid. Your actions can only help.

When calling 911, you will be asked for your location. Be specific, especially if you’re calling from a mobile phone as that is not associated with a fixed address. Answering the dispatcher’s questions will not delay the arrival of help.


If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive.” CPR can more than double a person’s chances of survival, and “Stayin’ Alive” has the right beat for Hands-Only CPR.

Click here for video demonstrations and more information from the AHA.

AHA Resources

Heart Attack Warning signs

•Chest discomfort – Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

•Other Upper Body discomfort – Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

•Shortness of Breath with or without chest discomfort.

•Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Signs of a Stroke (F.A.S.T.)

•Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

•Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

•Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

•Time to call 9-1-1 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Cardiac Arrest Warning Signs

•Sudden loss of responsiveness – No response to tapping on shoulders.

•No normal breathing – The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.

Click here for more information on warning signs and actions

Chain of Survival for Cardiac Arrest


5 links in the adult Chain of Survival

– Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
– Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
– Rapid defibrillation
– Basic and advanced emergency medical services
– Advanced life support and post-cardiac arrest care

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