This is something someone in your house should know how do.

This quick primer on common basic first aid procedures can help get you through a minor crisis, at least until the paramedics arrive or you can get to medical treatment. These tips are based on the 2019 first aid procedures recommended by the American Heart Association and American Red Cross.1 They are not a substitute for proper first aid training but can be an introduction to what you can do.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the most important medical procedure of all. If a person is in cardiac arrest (the heart is no longer pumping blood) and CPR is not performed, that person will die. On the other hand, performing CPR or using an automated external defibrillator (AED) could save a life.2

You can start by reviewing the basics of CPR. The procedure has changed in the past few years, so it is best to take a CPR class at a medical center, community college, Red Cross, or fire department. There is no substitute for a hands-on class.

AEDs are available in many public areas and businesses. These devices are simplified for use even if you have never been trained. CPR training will include familiarization with AED use.

According to the American Heart Association and American Red Cross 2019 guidelines, the steps to take when a cardiac arrest is suspected are:1

  • Command someone to call 911 or the medical alert system for the locale.
  • Immediately start chest compressions regardless of your training. Compress hard and fast in the center of the chest, allowing recoil between compressions. Hand this task over to those who are trained if and when they arrive.
  • If you are trained, use chest compressions and rescue breathing.
  •  An AED should be applied and used. But it is essential not to delay chest compressions, so finding one should be commanded to someone else while you are doing chest compressions