Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique that’s useful in many emergencies, such as a heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. The American Heart Association recommends starting CPR with hard and fast chest compressions. This hands-only CPR recommendation applies to both untrained bystanders and first responders.

If you’re afraid to do CPR or unsure how to perform CPR correctly, know that it’s always better to try than to do nothing at all. The difference between doing something and doing nothing could be someone’s life.

Here’s advice from the American Heart Association:

  • Untrained. If you’re not trained in CPR or worried about giving rescue breaths, then provide hands-only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute until paramedics arrive (described in more detail below). You don’t need to try rescue breathing.
  • Trained and ready to go. If you’re well-trained