How to do CPR
CPR compression

How to do CPR

How to do CPR and save a life

Could you be part of the ‘chain of survival‘? Remember, if it’s safe, doing something is better than nothing. Chain of Survival

What should you consider when you react before assisting anyone?

  • What happened?
  • Further danger?
  • Can you cope?
  • Number of casualties?
  • Emergency services?
  • Who needs help first?

Using the acronym ‘DR ABC’ provides an easy way to remember how to respond in an emergency.


  • Stay Calm & check the area is safe for you and any other people around you.
  • If it is not safe, call 999 for help.
  • If it is safe, approach the casualty and try to get a response.


  • Talk to the person. Ask if they need help?
  • No verbal response?
  • Place your hands on their shoulders. Squeeze the muscles at the top.
  • No response?  Move on to airway.


  • Open their airway with a head tilt, chin lift.
  • Do this by placing the palm of one hand on the forehead and fingers of your other hand under their chin.
  • Push the head back and lift the chin.
  • Keep their head in this position and move on to check their breathing.


  • Do this check for 10 seconds.
  • Look for rise and fall of their chest.
  • Put your ear near their mouth and listen.
  • Can you feel their breath on your cheek?
  • Are they breathing at all?
  • No breathing or not breathing effectively/normally? The casualty is in cardiac arrest.
  • Call for help 999 and start CPR


  • If you are able to you will provide the compression part of the CPR (Cardio pulmonary Resuscitation) cycle.
  • Kneel at the side of the casualty.
  • Place the heel/palm of your preferred hand in centre of the chest on the flat, hard piece of bone.
  • Place the other hand on top to maintain position. Either interlock your fingers or place it flat on top with a thumb round your wrist to help keep your hand in position.
  • Remain kneeling, leaning over the chest with your shoulder/elbow/wrist in line with the bottom hand. Arms locked.
  • Deliver a compression by pushing down hard and fast, a third of the depth of the chest (4-6cm) by rocking forward.
  • The depth makes sure that the heart is squeezed so it empties of blood. Allow the chest to come back up/recoil fully after each compression to make sure the heart can refill.
  • Compress the chest at a rate of 2 per second.
  • Aim for 100-120 compressions per minute.
  • A rhythm of ‘1234, 1234 ’ is useful.
  • Providing chest compressions replace the heart’s normal pumping action and circulate the person’s blood round the body to help keep their brain and other important organs supplied with oxygen whilst you wait for the emergency services to arrive.

Can you provide Rescue breaths? (Sometimes called ‘Mouth to mouth’)

If you know how to deliver rescue breaths through previous accredited training you will understand it is your choice if you are able to provide them in an emergency.

Deliver 30 compressions. Then provide 2 rescue breaths within 5 seconds. The rescue breath should provide enough air to just raise the casualty’s chest. Do not over inflate. Continue repeating this cycle.

Remember ‘doing something is better than nothing.’

Carry on until:

  • The casualty starts to breathe on their own. Now keep checking their breathing while waiting for help to arrive. If you know how, place the casualty in the Recovery Position.
  • The Emergency Services/help arrive and takes over. Be prepared to share or answer questions about what has happened
  • You become too tired. Rest. Get others to help. Carry on.
  • Other people/bystanders arrive/offer to help. Get them involved.
  • You realise you are not safe and have to stop and move to a place of safety. Call 999 if necessary.
  • A defibrillator arrives to use

The above guide follows the national guidelines issued by the Resuscitation Council UK.

For more information go to

If you would like to learn CPR or take part in one of First Aid courses, please email or visit our training page.


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