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Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that combines chest compressions often with artificial ventilation in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest.

Click Here to view the CPR on ADULTS Training video.
Click Here to view the CPR on CHILDREN Training video.

LetterRepresentingWhat to do
DDangerEnsure that the patient and everyone in the area is safe. Do not put yourself or others at risk. Remove the danger or the patient.
RResponseLook for a response from the patient — loudly ask their name, squeeze their shoulder.
SSend for helpIf there is no response, phone triple zero (000) or ask another person to call. Do not leave the patient.
Check their mouth and throat is clear. Remove any obvious blockages in the mouth or nose, such as vomit, blood, food or loose teeth, then gently tilt their head back and lift their chin.
BBreathingCheck if the person is breathing abnormally or not breathing at all after 10 seconds. If they are breathing normally, place them in the recovery position and stay with them.
CCPRIf they are still not breathing normally, start CPR. Chest compressions are the most important part of CPR. Start chest compressions as soon as possible after calling for help.
DDefibrillationAttach an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the patient if one is available and there is someone else who is able to bring it. Do not get one yourself if that would mean leaving the patient alone.

Carry out chest compressions:

  1. Place the patient on their back and kneel beside them.
  2. Place the heel of your hand on the lower half of the breastbone, in the centre of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of the first hand and interlock your fingers.
  3. Position yourself above the patient’s chest.
  4. Using your body weight (not just your arms) and keeping your arms straight, press straight down on their chest by one third of the chest depth.
  5. Release the pressure. Pressing down and releasing is 1 compression.

Give mouth-to-mouth:

  1. Open the person’s airway by placing one hand on the forehead or top of the head and your other hand under the chin to tilt the head back.
  2. Pinch the soft part of the nose closed with your index finger and thumb.
  3. Open the person’s mouth with your thumb and fingers.
  4. Take a breath and place your lips over the patient’s mouth, ensuring a good seal.
  5. Blow steadily into their mouth for about 1 second, watching for the chest to rise.
  6. Following the breath, look at the patient’s chest and watch for the chest to fall. Listen and feel for signs that air is being expelled. Maintain the head tilt and chin lift position.
  7. If their chest does not rise, check the mouth again and remove any obstructions. Make sure the head is tilted and chin lifted to open the airway. Check that yours and the patient’s mouth are sealed together and the nose is closed so that air cannot easily escape. Take another breath and repeat.

Give 30 compressions followed by 2 breaths, known as “30:2”. Aim for 5 sets of 30:2 in about 2 minutes (if only doing compressions about 100 – 120 compressions per minute).

Keep going with 30 compressions then 2 breaths until:

  • the person recovers — they start moving, breathing normally, coughing or talking — then put them in the recovery position; or
  • it is impossible for you to continue because you are exhausted; or
  • the ambulance arrives and a paramedic takes over or tells you to stop

Doing CPR is very tiring so if possible, with minimal interruption, swap between doing mouth-to-mouth and compressions so you can keep going with effective compressions.

If you can’t give breaths, doing compressions only without stopping may still save a life.

How to perform CPR — children over 1 year

Use these instructions only if the child’s chest is too small for you to use both hands to do chest compressions. Otherwise, use these instructions for adult CPR above (Click here for ADULT CPR video). The Adult CPR training video was obtained from and credited the Royal Life Saving Australia.

The following Child CPR training video was obtained from and credited to the Royal Life Saving Australia. Watch this video on how to perform CPR on a child, (Click here for INFANT CPR video) or read the DRS ABCD action plan and step-by-step instructions below.