In this video, we explain what cardiac arrest means, how and why performing CPR gives casualties a chance of survival, and how to assess a casualty and then perform CPR (from 2.07 onwards). A shorter CPR-guide-only version of the video is also available on our YouTube channel.
Please note that while the above video shows CPR with rescue breaths, the Resuscitation Council recommends hands-only CPR to untrained lay responders.
How to perform CPR - a summary
You should commence CPR when a casualty is both unresponsive and not breathing normally. Ensure you speak to the casualty and shake their shoulders, then look, listen and feel for breaths with your cheek, before deciding to start CPR.
Performing CPR on adults:
Call emergency services
Kneel beside the casualty level with their chest (they must be placed on their back first).
Place one hand on the centre of the chest.
Place the heel of your other hand on top of the first and interlock your fingers, keeping them off the ribs.
Lean over the casualty with your arms straight and press down vertically on the breastbone, depressing the chest by 5-6cm.
Release the pressure without removing your hands and let the chest come back up. Compression and release should take about the same time.
Compress the chest like this at a rate of 100-120 per minute.
If trained, give rescue breaths at a ratio of 30 compressions to 2 rescue breaths.
Continue CPR until emergency help arrives or the casualty shows signs of becoming responsive and starts breathing normally.
If performing CPR on children over 1 years of age, give five initial rescue breaths and then perform 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute with just one hand, compressing the chest by at least one-third of its depth, followed by 2 further rescue breaths. Then continue at a 30:2 ratio between chest compressions and rescue breaths. You may also perform compression-only CPR on a child. For an infant, perform CPR in the same manner as for a child except use two fingers to perform compressions rather than a full hand.
If you are alone and are treating a child or infant in cardiac arrest, perform CPR for 1 minute BEFORE calling emergency services.