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Saving a life: do you know how to perform CPR?

Photo: British Heart Foundation

Many lives are saved thanks to CPR, including the life of Marilyn Smith from Cornwall, who was saved by butcher and ambulance service volunteer, Mike Kinger from Gunnislake.

So how do you perform CPR? If someone is unconscious and not breathing, here are six simple steps, according to the British Heart Foundation:

Credit: British Heart Foundation
  • Step 1: Shake and shout Always look out for risks before you start. Check for a response by gently shaking the shoulder and shout for help.
  • Step 2: Check if the person is breathing normally – for no more than 10 seconds. If they are making gasping noises this isn’t normal. Open the airway by gently tilting their head back and lifting their chin.
  • Step 3: Call 999 emergency services - If no one is around to help, put your phone on loudspeaker so your hands are free, the operator can talk you through how to perform CPR if you're unsure.
  • Step 4: Give 30 chest compressions: Start compressions as soon as you can. Place the heel of one hand in the centre of their chest. Place the other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers.
  • With straight arms, use the heel of your hand to push the breastbone down firmly and smoothly, so that the chest is pressed down between 5–6 cm, and release.
  • Do this at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute – that’s around 2 per second.
  • Step 5: Give two rescue breaths: Open the airway - tilt the head back and lift the chin. Pinch the soft part of the person’s nose closed. Take a normal breath, make a seal around their mouth and breathe out steadily. The person’s chest should rise and fall. Keeping the person’s head back and the chin lifted, take your mouth away, take another normal breath, and give a second rescue breath. The two breaths should take no longer than five seconds.
  • Step 6: Repeat until an ambulance arrives. When you call 999, they can tell you if there's a public access defibrillator nearby.Don’t be afraid or worried. The defibrillator kit is easy to use with clear instructions. You can't do any harm using a defibrillator, as it will only deliver a shock if needed. How defibrillators work.

Information is from the British Heart Foundation. More information here: https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/restart-a-heart/restart-a-heart-in-6-easy-steps