How to perform CPR

CPR is a way of performing first aid when someone is found unresponsive and not breathing, or after someone suffers a cardiac arrest.

There are two types of CPR - Hands-only CPR and CPR with rescue breaths.

You should only carry out CPR with rescue breaths if you've been trained and you're confident in doing so - otherwise you should perform hands-only CPR with chest compressions.

How do you carry out hands-only CPR (on an adult)?

  • If someone isn't breathing, ask for someone close-by to call 999 while you perform CPR. If you're alone, use the speaker function on your phone to start CPR while calling 999.

  • You can also ask for someone close-by to bring you a public-access defibrillator if there's one available.

  • You then need to carry out chest compressions.

How do you carry out chest compressions?

  • You first need to place the heel of your hand on the centre of the person's chest (their breastbone).

  • Then put your other hand on top of that hand and interlock your fingers.

  • You also need to make sure you are leaning over the person so that your shoulders are above your hands.

  • You then need to press straight down on the person's chest by 5 to 6cm, using your body weight.

  • You then need to release the pressure and let their chest come back up to it's original position, while keeping your hands on their chest.

  • You need to do at least 30 compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times a minute until an ambulance arrives.

How would I use a defibrillator?

  • Ask someone to help you by switching on the defibrillator and applying the pads while you continue giving the person CPR.

  • Follow the voice prompts given by the defibrillator.

  • Then stand back and remove your hands from the person's chest when a shock is going to be given.

St John Ambulance also has a video which shows you how to carry out chest compressions on an adult.

Where can I access CPR training?

If you'd like to access CPR training, these following organisations can potentially offer training that covers general first aid and CPR training, through hosting courses in the Midlands and beyond:

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