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Hands-Only CPR

***Content courtesy of the Milwaukee Fire Department and the American Heart Association.

What is Hands-Only CPR?

Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an "out-of-hospital" setting (such as at home, at work, or in a park). It consists of 2 easy steps:

  1. Call 911
  2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest

When you call 911, you need to stay on the phone until the 911 dispather (operator) tells you to hand up. The dispatcher will ask you about the emergency. They will also ask for details such as your location. It is important to be specific, especially if you are calling from a mobile phone that is not associated with a fixed location or address. Remember that answering the dispather's questions will not delay the arrival of help.

For more information on Hands-Only CPR, please visit the American Heart Association's Hands-Only CPR Website.

Milwaukee County Hands-Only CPR Initiative

All 13 of the Milwaukee County fire departments in conjunction with the Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services Division (MCEMS), Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, Aurora Healthcare, the Milwaukee Admirals, Walgreens, the Hunger Task Force, and other community partners are excited to introduce the Milwaukee County Hands-Only CPR Initiative.

Bystander-CPR rates in Milwaukee County hover around 20%. This means that a patient in cardiac arrest in Milwaukee County currently has about a 1 in 5 chance of having someone step in to offer CPR prior to the arrival of first responders. We think we can do much better! Therefore, the community partners named above have begun implementation of a program designed to capture as many people as possible at sporting events, health fairs, and community festivals, which will provide 10 to 20 minute training in Hands-Only CPR. Similar Hands-Only CPR initiatives in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area have seen bystander CPR rates increase from about 30% to more than 75% one-year following implementation.

Studies have found that many bystanders report they are hesitant to react in an emergency because they feel they are not properly trained, or they are afraid to provide mouth-to-mouth breaths. The American Heart Association's research has shown that the heart usually has about 10 minutes of residual oxygen in the blood and that providing early chest compressions along with early access to an automatic external defibrillator (AED) provides the best chance for survival in a sudden cardiac emergency.

These Hands-Only CPR trainings are FREE; however, they are not a certification course. To find out more information on Hands-Only CPR and how to check out a training bin which includes a locally-produced training DVD, training manikin, and an automated external defibrillator (AED) trainer, please contact Milwaukee Fire Department Director of Community Relations at 414-286-8970 or via email at


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Milwaukee, WI 53202


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