The 3 Steps of CPR

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The CPR techniques vary depending on the age of the person. Be sure to read each of our lessons to know which specifics you should follow for the age of the victim.

The three steps of CPR are:

1) chest compressions

2) opening the victim’s airway

3) giving rescue breaths.

The following steps are general techniques that vary depending on the person’s age. Be sure to study all of our CPR lessons to make sure you’re using the right techniques for the victim’s age.


Place the heel of one hand over the center of the victim’s chest. Your hand should be placed between the nipples.

Place the heel of your other hand over the first. Keep your arms straight and locked at the elbows.

Firmly push down on the victim’s chest. This is called a compression

Push hard and fast. The compression rate should be at least 100 compressions per minute.


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Lie the person face-up on a hard, flat surface.

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Lift the person’s chin with one hand while pushing down on the forehead with the other hand.

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There are three methods used for rescue breathing. These include mouth-to-mouth, face mask, and face shield. The CPR face mask can be placed over the victims’ place. You blow into a tube at the top of the mask. The face shield is similar. Chances are unless you’re an EMT or other emergency professional, you won’t have time to search for a face mask or face shield. Time is of the essence when you’re trying to save someone’s life!

Open the victim’s airway

Pinch the nose shut with your fingers

Inhale normally and cover the victim’s mouth with your mouth. This should create an airtight seal between your mouth and the victim’s.

Exhale into the victim’s mouth. This should cause the person’s chest to rise.

The above steps are considered one rescue breath. In most cases you’ll want to do two.

Be sure to study our lessons for performing CPR on victims of different ages.


We also offer a free certificate of completion. To receive the certificate you must pass a 50-question test with a score of 70 or higher. Check our Basic First Aid Certificate of Completion page for more information.