What would you do if you saw someone near you pass out?
Each year, according to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen in the United States outside of a hospital setting. The fatality rate is nearly 90%, but CPR, if given right away, can double or triple the chances of survival.
Here are the top five missteps people make when it comes to administering CPR:
Not getting involved.
"If a person collapsed in front of you and stopped moving and breathing, you want to help. The faster you jump in, the better their chances. Every second that goes by, the chance of you reversing their situation decreases. Someone should call 911, and someone should start CPR immediately," said Dr. Sampson Davis, an emergency medicine doctor in New Jersey.
The American Red Cross offers step-by-step instructions for administering CPR and also offers a search tool to find in-person trainings.
Not calling 911 for help.
"People are afraid of the gravity of the situation, and the flight or fight response kicks in. Do they stay or run for the hills?" Davis said. "Not calling 911 is a mistake because you need your first responders there with medication and treatment options."
Not prioritizing chest compression over mouth-to-mouth.
"There are two steps. Call 911 and start chest compression right away. If someone stops breathing and has no heartbeat, there’s still enough oxygen in the bloodstream, so if you help with chest compression it will help to circulate the blood. Just press away. Don’t go near their face," Davis said.
A video from the American Heart Association demonstrates this process, known as hands-only CPR:
NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres explained that you should always start hands-only CPR by checking if the person is breathing and responsive. If they don't answer when you ask if they're OK, then make sure someone is calling 911 and start CPR: Put one hand in the middle of the chest, place your other hand on top of it, and interlock your fingers. Lock your elbows and start pushing down hard at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. Keep doing it until help arrives.
Only health care providers and people who are trained in mouth-to-mouth breathing should administer it, according to the American Heart Association. Hands-only CPR is recommended for teens or adults who suddenly collapse outside a hospital.
Not knowing what you're doing.
"Your chest compressions have to be deep. Lock your elbows. Put the palm of your hand on the person’s chest in the middle. Give deep enough compressions. Go pretty fast, about 100 beats per minute," Davis said. "Keep doing that. After a minute or two, the person may start to respond. Check for a pulse."
One hundred beats per minute is about the same tempo as the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees.
Forgetting your own safety.
"You just want to always be mindful. Your safety comes first," Davis explained. "Make sure you’re not around loose wires if you’re on a job site. Be mindful of your surroundings. You hear about people who die trying to rescue someone else."