What is CPR?
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It combines chest compressions and rescue breaths to give a person the best chance of survival following a cardiac arrest.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Do not perform rescue breaths on adult casualties.
If an adult is unresponsive and not breathing normally, you still need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and start CPR straight away.
For more information on CPR during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit the Resuscitation Council website.
What to do
- If you find someone collapsed, you should first perform a primary survey. Do not place your face close to theirs. If you have established from this that they are unresponsive and not breathing, you should ask a helper to call 999 or 112 for emergency help while you start CPR. Ask a helper to find and bring a defibrillator, if available.
- Ask your helper to put the phone on speaker and hold it out towards you, so they can maintain a 2m distance
- If you are on your own, use the hands-free speaker on a phone so you can start CPR while speaking to ambulance control
- Do not leave the casualty to look for a defibrillator yourself. The ambulance will bring one.
- Before you start CPR, use a face shield if available or towel/piece of clothing and lay it over the mouth and nose of the casualty.
- Start CPR. Kneel by the casualty and put the heel of your hand on the middle of their chest. Put your other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers making sure they don’t touch the ribs.Keep your arms straight and lean over the casualty. Press down hard, to a depth of about 5-6cm before releasing the pressure, allowing the chest to come back up.
- The beat of the song “Staying Alive” can help you keep the right speed
- Do not give rescue breaths.
- Continue to perform CPR until:
- emergency help arrives and takes over
- the person starts showing signs of life and starts to breathe normally
- you are too exhausted to continue (if there is a helper, you can change over every one-to-two minutes, with minimal interruptions to chest compressions)
- a defibrillator is ready to be used.
- If the helper returns with a defibrillator, ask them to switch it on and follow the voice prompts while you continue with CPR.
- Wherever possible, the helper should keep a distance of 2m.
- If the casualty shows signs of becoming responsive such as coughing, opening eyes, speaking, and starts to breathe normally, put them in the recovery position. Monitor their level of response and prepare to give CPR again if necessary.
- If you have used a defibrillator, leave it attached.