Woman performing CPR on a young male

Hands-Only CPR & AED Initiation

Empower yourself and save lives of victims of sudden cardiac arrest

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops beating suddenly. It’s triggered by an electrical malfunction in the body that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). 

When the heart stops, it can’t pump blood to the brain and other organs. 

Who’s impacted? 

It can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any age, often without warning.

What are the signs of cardiac arrest? 

  • Sudden collapse
  • No pulse
  • No breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness to touch or sound.
  • Not breathing normally or making gasping sounds

How can I help? 

When a cardiac arrest occurs, getting the heart beating quickly is critical. Each minute without oxygen and blood flow to the brain increases the risk of permanent damage and death. 

Every second counts!

Icon of a hand holding a smart phone

STEP 1: Call 911

If someone is unresponsive and not breathing, call emergency services immediately.

Icon of a a hand on a heart and another hand placed over top

STEP 2: Start Hands-Only CPR

Place the heel of one hand on the center of their chest, then place the other hand on top. Use your body weight to perform chest compressions. They should be at least two inches deep and done at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. Continue until help arrives.

icon of an AED

STEP 3: Initiate an AED

AEDs are user-friendly: turn on the machine and follow the step-by-step instructions until help arrives. If the machine advises you to give a shock, do so, then immediately resume CPR. The machine will direct you when to give the next shock.

Repeat this cycle (defibrillator, compressions) until help arrives, the person gains consciousness, or it's not safe for you to continue. 

Learn CPR in less than 90 seconds

Heart & Stroke

Learn how to use an AED with this easy-to-follow video.

Heart & Stroke

An AED next to a person holding a knitted heart

Do you know where you can find an AED?

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable devices that are made available in many public places such as airports, libraries, schools, office buildings, sports venues, recreation centres, grocery stores and shopping malls. AED locations should be clearly marked for quick access.  

Find an AED location in Alberta