How to do CPR: Basic Life Support

Can anyone do CPR? YES! Of course they can!!

I have been thinking about this recently and I honestly think that above anything else the ability to save anothers life must be the most important skill. I totally understand that schools are under so much pressure but I really think this would be an invaluable skill to learn through-out secondary schools. In the first practice lesson we had as Student Paramedics at the University of Worcester, we had to do Basic life support and at the end there was a small tick box assessment as to whether we passed or failed. I just think the information they give us is invaluable and I would love to share it with as many people as possible so we can save more lives!

If you can please take the time to read this through as one day it may come in handy if you find yourself in a situation where it could literally be life or death.

Assessing the situation 

Who is the most important in an emergency situation? YOU! If you are injured or hurt then you are no use to your patient. Make sure that you take a minute and stand back to assess whether or not you can approach the patient; checking for dangers including sharp objects, uneven surfaces or other bystanders. I cannot stress how important this is, you are no use if you are also a patient and havent taken those five seconds to just take in the situation.

Checking for a response 

There are many myths and old practices in how we can check for a response in an unconcious patient. It used to be that we could pinch the ear or rub the sternum. Nowadays this would be classed as assault, so please be careful and think about what you are doing through the eyes of a bystander.

So instead we just ask into each ear “Hello, can you hear me?” We do both just incase they are deaf in one ear or hard of hearing. If there is no response then we need to check whether or not they are making any effort to breath for themselves.

Checking for breathing

To do this get your head down near their face and look at their chest with your ear next to their mouth. Do this for up to 10 seconds. If they are breathing normally you will feel, hear and smell them doing so. However anything other than normal breathing such as agonal gasps (a snoring noise) you will need to take some action!

How to do CPRCPR

To begin with we need to start the chest compressions. To do this link your fingers together with one hand on top of the other. And with the heel of your hand, place your hands in the centre of the chest. You will need to push down quite hard to achieve a depth of around 4-6cm which is about a third of the chest depth. You need to do this at a rate of 100-120 times per minute which yes, does fit to the song ‘Staying Alive’. Keep your elbows locked and shoulders strong and to some this will feel every unnatural but you need to keep that blood circulating and keep up the pressure within the body itself.

Rescue breaths are a choice. You do not have to do them and can continue with compression only CPR however the gold standard would be to give rescue breaths. If the person you are resuscitating has facial wounds or has any vomit around the mouth you may not want to do rescue breaths and of course this is totally fine! In which case continue with the compressions at the same rate until help arrives. If you are doing this on a loved one or somebody you know, you may want to attempt the rescue breaths. You need to make a seal around then mouth with your mouth and blow out into their mouth as you normally would breath out. You are not blowing up a balloon!

So you need to do 30 chest compressions and then 2 rescue breaths.; and continue with that ratio until help arrives.

This example has been drawn on if the situation was for an adult. Child and infant CPR follow slightly different processes however by looking at the Resuscitation Council’s website you can find out more information on Adult CPR and further your knowledge as to how to use the AED (Automated external defibrillator) that you may see attached to the wall of your local shop or village hall. I suggest reading this to clarify anything in the above post and check the official guidelines as well.

Extra Information

Try to get yourselves a faceshield as a hygienic barrier against you and the patient when providing rescue breaths. These are brilliant especially when the patient may have blood around the mouth. This is such a useful skill to know as so many people find themselves in a situation where they feel helpless. Youtube is such a blessing as well so search up CPR and find the easiest way for you guided by the resuscitation council.