CPR Introduction
  Cardiovascular disease, disease of heart and blood vessels, is the leading cause of death in U.S. Cancer is the second leading cause of death.  The third leading cause is injury.  Most people with a heart attack die before reaching a hospital.  In order to save the lives of cardiac emergency victims, first aid must be immediately available. 

Rescuers play a vital role and their knowledge and skills can mean the difference between life and death for many victims.  It is up to the rescuer to recognize that emergency medical help is needed, to begin first aid and contact the local emergency medical services (EMS).

If a person's heart has stopped (cardiac arrest), Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, also known as CPR, is needed to keep oxygen-carrying blood flowing from the lungs to the brain and heart until EMS arrives. 

There are three general symptoms that warrant immediate administration of CPR:

  --  Victim is Unconscious
  --  Victim is not Breathing
  --  Victim has No Pulse

Critical Times for Saving a Life

0 Minutes - Victim's Heart Stops
0-4 Minutes - Rescuer Starts CPR and Calls EMS
8-10 Minutes - EMS Arrives and Begins Advanced Care

Brain Damage Timeline

0 to 4 minutes after exhibiting symptoms Chances of Brain Damage Minimal
4 to 6 minutes after exhibiting symptoms  Chances of Brain Damage Possible
6 to 10 minutes after exhibiting symptoms Chances of Brain Damage Likely
Greater than 10 minutes Chances of Brain Death Likely