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First Aid Guide: CPR

Team AckoAug 18, 2023

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), a crucial component of first aid, helps maintain blood flow and oxygenation to vital organs when someone's heart has stopped beating or they have stopped breathing. Knowing how to perform CPR correctly can significantly increase a person's chances of survival during critical moments before medical professionals arrive. Read ahead to know more about CPR and first aid. 




What is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a vital life-saving technique utilised in emergency scenarios where an individual's breathing or heartbeat has ceased. It involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths, aiming to sustain the flow of oxygenated blood to the essential organs, particularly the brain, until professional medical assistance arrives. 

CPR plays a crucial role in maintaining circulation and delivering oxygen to the body, thereby increasing the likelihood of survival during cardiac arrest or other critical situations. Whether performed by trained individuals or bystanders, CPR is a valuable skill that holds the potential to save lives in dire emergencies.

High-quality CPR: Five elements

Here are five key elements that contribute to high-quality CPR.

  • Reduce pauses or breaks during chest compressions as much as possible.

  • Administer compressions at an appropriate rate and depth to ensure effectiveness.

  • Refrain from putting excessive weight or leaning on the person in need of assistance during the compression phase.

  • Guarantee correct hand placement for optimal chest compressions.

  • Avoid excessive ventilation, focusing on the appropriate balance during rescue breaths.

Before initiating CPR

Before initiating CPR, it is crucial to take the following steps.

  • Ensure that both you and the individual in need of assistance are situated at a safe distance from any potential hazards, such as moving traffic or fire.

  • Assess the person's responsiveness by asking loudly if they are okay. Observe their reaction or response to determine if they require immediate medical attention.

  • If the person is unresponsive, promptly call for emergency medical services. If there are bystanders present, you can request their assistance in making the emergency call.

  • If accessible, request someone to locate an automated external defibrillator (AED), commonly found in public facilities. Having an AED can significantly improve the chances of survival in certain cardiac emergencies.

  • Carefully turn the person onto their back and check for signs of breathing by listening for any sounds or observing if their chest rises and falls.

  • Examine the person's neck for the presence of a pulse. If no pulse is detected, it is time to initiate CPR.

CPR and cardiac arrest

CPR is needed when a person has the four signs of cardiac arrest.

  • The person has collapsed.

  • The person is unresponsive.

  • Breathing has stopped.

  • There is no pulse.

CPR for adults

Remember CAB in relation to CPR for adults. 

1. C - Compressions: Position the heel of your hand at the centre of the individual's chest. Place your other hand on top, interlacing your fingers. Apply downward pressure, ensuring the chest is compressed at least 2 inches in the case of adults. Optimal compression rate is around 100 times per minute or slightly faster.

2. A - Airway: If you possess CPR training, proceed to open the airway by using a head-tilt and chin-lift technique.

3. B - Breathing: Seal off the victim's nose by pinching it closed. Take a regular breath and create an airtight seal by placing your mouth over theirs. Deliver two breaths, each lasting approximately one second, while observing the chest for any rise. Maintain a cycle of compressions and breaths (30 compressions, two breaths) until professional assistance arrives.

CPR for Children

Here are the things to keep in mind while performing CPR for children. 

  • Check to see if the child is conscious.

  • Check breathing.

  • Begin chest compressions.

  • Perform rescue breathing.

Rescue breathing: Step-by-step guidelines

Here are straightforward instructions for performing rescue breathing. These steps apply to both adults and children.

  • Ensure the person's mouth is clear of any obstructions.

  • Gently tilt the person's head back, providing a slight lift to their chin.

  • Pinch the person's nose shut to prevent air leakage.

  • Place your mouth fully over the person's mouth.

  • Administer a forceful breath to cause their chest to rise.

  • If the person's chest does not rise, tilt their head back a little further and attempt again.

For infants, rescue breathing follows a slightly different procedure.

  • Confirm that the infant's mouth is clear, removing any obstructions.

  • Tilt the infant's head back slightly while lifting their chin.

  • Completely cover the infant's nose and mouth with your mouth.

  • Blow forcefully to create chest rise.

  • If the infant's chest does not rise, tilt their head back slightly more and try once again.

Using an AED

In anticipation of potential cardiac arrest incidents, it is common to find AEDs installed within public facilities. Here are the essential steps to take when utilising an AED.

  1. Upon acquiring access to an AED, promptly activate the device and heed the voice prompts provided.

  2. Remove any clothing that may hinder the procedure and correctly affix the electrode pads.

  3. If necessary, connect the pad connector cable securely into the AED.

  4. Prepare for the AED to commence analysing the heart's rhythm.

  5. Should the AED determine the need for a shock, be prepared to administer it accordingly.

  6. Subsequent to the delivery of the shock by the AED, or if the device advises against a shock, immediately initiate CPR, starting with chest compressions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a section on FAQs related to CPR and first aid.


When should I perform CPR?

Perform CPR if the person is unresponsive, not breathing normally, or has no pulse. It is crucial to begin CPR as soon as possible after recognising the signs of cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest.

How do I know if someone needs CPR?

Check for responsiveness by tapping the person and asking if they are okay. If they do not respond and are not breathing normally, initiate CPR. 

How many compressions and rescue breaths should I give during CPR?

For adult CPR, the ratio is 30 compressions to 2 rescue breaths. Maintain a steady rate of approximately 100-120 compressions per minute. For child and infant CPR, the ratio is the same, but with different techniques.

Should I stop CPR once the person starts breathing slightly?

No, you should continue CPR until professional medical help arrives or until the person shows signs of recovery. Continuous chest compressions and rescue breaths are essential until the person resumes breathing spontaneously or until advanced medical assistance takes over.

Are there any risks associated with performing CPR?

Performing CPR carries a minimal risk of injury, such as rib fractures or bruising, especially in older individuals. However, the potential benefits of saving a life far outweigh the risks.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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