As many of us are still staying home for work, virtual school or being under quarantine, we don’t have the support of co-workers or the public if there’s a medical emergency. Do you know what to do if someone in your house has a heart attack?

A recent study provided by the American Heart Association found that in the early months of the pandemic, it took people longer to call 911. ImageTrend Collaborate found that from January to April 2020, the time from symptoms starting to someone calling 911 increased by 10 percent.

If someone is having a heart attack, every second is critical in having a positive outcome. Even during the pandemic, the safest place for someone having a heart attack or stroke is getting treated at a hospital and in an ambulance on the way.

The American Heart Association even started a campaign to remind people that the risks of getting COVID-19 in a hospital do not outweigh the benefits of the life-saving care, pleading “Don’t Die of Doubt.”

What happens while the ambulance is on the way to your home is also critical.

Annette Chard, Emergency and Trauma Educator with Lutheran Health Network, explained that Hands-only CPR can make the difference between life and death.

“Zero CPR is zero survivability. So, some CPR is better than no CPR. Doing something is better than nothing,” she said.

Chard taught WANE 15’s Alyssa Ivanson how to give the compressions.


  • First, call 911 so an ambulance can be enroute while you start CPR.
  • Find the middle of the chest, slightly below the nipple line.
  • Put the heel of one hand on the chest, and the other hand on top of the bottom hand, interlacing the fingers.
  • With straight arms, start forceful, fast compressions. The goal is to have about 100 in a minute. Think of going to the beat of the song “Staying Alive” or “Baby Shark”
  • Keep compressions going until help arrives or the person becomes alert. If you become exhausted, take a short break and start again as soon as you can. You may need to take turns with someone else because it can become very tiring.

While the steps are simple, it’s a good idea to review them once a year so in the event of an emergency, you can recall them easily, Chard said. She suggested writing the steps on a piece of paper and keeping them in the first aid kit in your home.

Learn more about the warning signs of heart attack or stroke here.