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First Aid Tip: Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

These first aid tips are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid.
Attend a
St John Ambulance First Aid Course.


  • If you have someone with you, send them to dial 112 for an ambulance immediately
  • If you are alone dial 112 for an ambulance immediately and then return to help the casualty.

Give 30 chest compressions

  • Place heel of your hand in the centre of the chest
  • Place other hand on top and interlock fingers
  • Keeping your arms straight and your fingers off the chest, press down by four to five centimetres. then release the pressure, keeping your hands in place
  • Repeat the compressions 30 times, at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute.

Attempt to give 2 rescue breaths.

  • Ensure the airway is open
  • Pinch nose firmly closed
  • Take a deep breath and seal your lips around the casualty’s mouth
  • Blow into the mouth until the chest rises
  • Remove your mouth and allow the chest to fall
  • Repeat once more.

Continue resuscitation, 30 compressions to two attempts at Rescue Breaths.

Do not stop unless:

  • Emergency help arrives and takes over
  • The casualty breathes normally or
  • You become so exhausted that you cannot carry on.


  • If you are alone, call an ambulance as soon as you know the casualty is not breathing – unless unconsciousness is due to drowning, whereby you should give FIVE initial rescue breaths and perform CPR for one minute before making the call
  • If two rescuers with the knowledge of CPR, are available, change every two minutes with minimal disruption
  • If you are unable or unwilling to give rescue breaths, give chest compressions only. Continue at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute
  • It is possible to identify the correct hand position without removing the child’s clothes.