If your heart suddenly stopped, you'd hope others around you would take action and perform CPR, right?

Statistics show that bystanders do CPR only about a third of the time and that women are less likely to receive the lifesaving procedure than men. Squeamishness around mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is one reason people are hesitant to help, but this is actually a step you can skip. In fact, researchers found that hands-only CPR, which is given without rescue breaths, resulted in a 60% higher survival rate than conventional CPR. And it typically takes bystanders less time to start giving hands-only CPR than the traditional kind.

Quicker action means better odds of survival, so here's exactly what to do if you spot someone in need:

  1. If you see someone collapse abruptly, call 911 right away or ask another person to do so.
  2. If the person is an adult or a teen, kneel down next to her and tap her shoulder, jostle her leg, or ask whether she's okay. (Kids under 12 and infants require different CPR. For more info visit redcross.org/childcpr).
  3. If she doesn't respond and doesn't seem to be breathing or is breathing very irregularly, put the heel of one hand in the center of her chest, roughly between her breasts.
  4. Place your other hand on top and interlock your fingers.
  5. Push hard and fast, locking your elbows and using your body weight to push down at least two inches, until help arrives. You're aiming for 100 to 120 compressions per minute — about the same tempo as in "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees and "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé. That's about two compressions per second.

Watch and see how it's done:

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To learn more, go to heart.org/handsonlycpr to watch more short instructional videos. You'll also find a list of locations of interactive airport kiosks where you can get trained in five minutes as well as upcoming stops of the Hands-Only CPR Mobile Tour.

Juno DeMelo

Juno DeMelo is a writer in Portland, Oregon.