CPR Guidelines

What is CPR?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is an emergency first aid technique that can be used to help save someone’s life if they stop breathing or if their heart stops beating.

CPR involves compressing the person’s chest with your arms and hands. It also involves giving mouth to mouth breaths. These two elements combined help blood and oxygen to continue to move around the body, keeping it alive.

When should you perform CPR?

CPR should be performed if a person is unconscious, is not responding to you, is not breathing or not breathing properly. When someone is experiencing cardiac arrest, they may take gasping breaths, but they will still require CPR.

Whether you have a first aid or trauma kit available or not, it is important that CPR is started as quickly as possible.

What does DRS ABCD stand for?

DRS ABCD is an acronym which outlines the basic steps you should follow when providing CPR to another person. The letters stand for:

D – Danger

First, you should check the surroundings for dangers to yourself, bystanders and the person in trouble.

R – Response

Check for a response from the person in trouble. Are they conscious? Shake the person and shout. If they do not respond, you will need to get help.

S – Send for help

Call 000 and ask for an ambulance to come to the location.

A – Airways

Check the person’s mouth for anything that may be blocking their airways such as vomit, chewing gum or false teeth. If you notice anything in their mouth, roll them onto their side, tilt their head back, open their mouth and remove the blockages.

B – Breathing

Check if the person is breathing. You should look for signs such as the sound of breathing, the feeling of air coming out of their mouth and the rise and fall of their chest. If the person is not breathing at all or not breathing normally, you should roll them onto their back and start CPR immediately.


You should either perform:

  • 30 cardiac compressions followed by 2 mouth to mouth breaths on repeat. Ideally aim for 100 compressions a minute and no more than 8 breaths a minute.


  • Continuous compressions (100 per minute) if you are not willing to give mouth to mouth breaths.

To give a person cardiac compressions:

  1. Place them on their back.
  2. Put the heel of your hand in the middle of their chest on the lower half of their breast bone.
  3. Place your other hand on top and interlock your fingers.
  4. Keeping your arms straight, use your body weight to press down on the person’s chest by one third of their chest depth.
  5. Release the pressure on their chest.

To give a person mouth to mouth rescue breaths:

  1. Tilt the person’s head back and use your hand to pull their chin down.
  2. Pinch the person’s nose shut.
  3. Place your lips on the other person’s lips, forming a seal.
  4. Blow into their mouth for 1 second.
  5. Look at the person’s chest to see if it rises and falls. If the chest does not rise and fall, check the mouth for blockages and remove anything obstructing the airways.
  6. Repeat the breath a second time.

You should continue providing CPR until the person recovers, starts breathing normally or until medical personnel arrive. If the person recovers, place them on their side in the recovery position.

D – Defibrillation

If there is an automated external defibrillator (AED) available, it should be used as soon as possible. CPR should continue to be performed until the AED pads are attached and the AED is turned on.

An AED is a medical device that monitors a person’s heart rhythm and gives an electric shock if needed. The electric shock can help the person’s heart establish a healthy rhythm again.

AEDs are designed to guide the user with voice instructions, so you do not have to be trained to use one.

  • After attaching the AED, follow the instructions.
  • The AED pads should not be touching each other.
  • No one should touch the person when the shock is being given.
  • Ideally, a child AED should be used on children, but if one is not available use an adult AED.
  • AEDs should not be used on children under the age of 1.

How to perform CPR on children and infants

For any child aged 1-8 years old whose chest is too small to use both hands, one hand should be used to perform CPR. Follow the rest of the adult steps when performing CPR.

To perform CPR on infants under 1 year old, you will need to use two fingers instead of your hand as their chests are too small. Use the same 30:2 compression to breath ratio as the adult instructions.

What equipment do you need for CPR training?

Two of the most important first aid training supplies include manikins and AED trainers.

  • Manikins are used to help students practice and feel confident about providing cardiac compressions and mouth to mouth breaths. They are manufactured to have the flexibility and size or a real human body and come in a range of types and sizes, including adult, child and infant manikins.

Certain types of manikins, such as Prestan manikins, come with a CPR rate monitor which gives immediate feedback to the student about their rate and depth of chest compressions.

  • AED trainers are used in first aid courses to help students learn how to operate an AED safely and effectively. Training defibrillators mimic the operations of a real AED, a switch sensing when the pads are attached to a manikin. Some AED trainers are built with preconfigured scenarios to help aid the teacher.

Who should learn how to perform CPR?

CPR can save a person’s life and anyone can learn how to provide CPR. Some job roles may require you to be accredited with first aid CPR training, but even if it is not a requirement, knowing how to give CPR could save the life of someone you love, someone you work with or even a stranger.