Wellbeing

Learn how to do CPR

The terrifying scenes on the pitch during the Euros last weekend has reiterated just how important it can be to know a little emergency first aid

Written by High Life North
Published 16.06.2021

If an adult is unresponsive and not breathing normally, you need to:

  1. Call 999
  2. Put a towel or item of clothing over the face
  3. Perform chest compressions to the tempo of the song Staying Alive. Do not give rescue breaths
  4. Use a defibrillator, if available
  5. Continue chest compressions until help arrives.

 

 

WHAT IS CPR?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It normally combines chest compressions and rescue breaths to give a person the best chance of survival following a cardiac arrest.

St John’s Ambulance have updated their guidance due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and advise NOT to perform rescue breaths on the casualty.

HOW TO PERFORM CPR

If an adult is unresponsive and not breathing normally, you need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and start CPR straight away. Here’s what to do:

STEP ONE:  

If you find someone collapsed, you should first perform a primary survey. Do not place your face close to theirs. If you have established from this that they are unresponsive and n  ot breathing, you should ask a helper to call 999 or 112 for emergency help while you start CPR. Ask a helper to find and bring a defibrillator, if available.

  • Ask your helper to put the phone on speaker and hold it out towards you, so they can maintain a 2m distance
  • If you are on your own, use the hands-free speaker on a phone so you can start CPR while speaking to ambulance control
  • Do not leave the casualty to look for a defibrillator yourself. The ambulance will bring one.

 

STEP TWO

Before you start CPR, use a towel or piece of clothing and lay it over the mouth and nose of the casualty.

Start CPR. Kneel by the casualty and put the heel of your hand on the middle of their chest. Put your other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers making sure they don’t touch the ribs.

Keep your arms straight and lean over the casualty. Press down hard, to a depth of about 5-6cm, before releasing the pressure – allowing their chest to come back up.

  • The beat of the song Staying Alive can help you keep the right speed
  • Do not give rescue breaths.

 

STEP THREE:

Continue to perform CPR until:  

  • emergency help arrives and takes over
  • the person starts showing signs of life and starts to breathe normally
  • you are too exhausted to continue (if there is a helper, you can change over every one-to-two minutes, with minimal interruptions to chest compressions)
  • a defibrillator is ready to be used.

STEP FOUR:

If the helper returns with a defibrillator, ask them to switch it on and follow the voice prompts while you continue with CPR.

Wherever possible, the helper should keep a distance of 2m.

 

STEP FIVE:

If the casualty shows signs of becoming responsive – such as coughing, opening eyes, speaking or starts to breathe normally – put them in the recovery position.

Monitor their level of response and prepare to give CPR again if necessary.

If you have used a defibrillator, leave it attached.

 

 

HOW TO USE A DEFIBRILLATOR

By using a defibrillator before an ambulance arrives, you can significantly increase someone’s chance of survival. Here’s what to do:

STEP ONE:

After performing a primary survey – where you find someone is unresponsive and not breathing normally – if someone is already performing CPR, call 999 or 112 for emergency help.

Find and bring a defibrillator, if available.

 

STEP TWO:

When you return with the defibrillator, switch it on and take the pads out – while your helper continues CPR.

Remove or cut through clothing to get to the casualty’s bare chest.

Wipe away any sweat. The defibrillator will give you voice prompts on what to do.

STEP THREE:

Attach the pads to the casualty’s chest, by removing the backing paper.

  • The first pad should be on the upper right side below the collar bone.
  • The second pad should be on the casualty’s left side below the arm pit.

STEP FOUR:

The defibrillator will analyse the heart’s rhythm. Stop CPR and make sure no one is touching the casualty. It will then give a series of visual and verbal prompts that should be followed.

If the defibrillator tells you that a shock is needed, tell people to stand back.

The defibrillator will tell you when to press the shock button. After the shock has been given, the defibrillator will tell you to continue CPR for two minutes before it re-analyses.

If the defibrillator tells you that no shock is needed, continue CPR for two minutes before the defibrillator re-analyses.

 

 

STEP FIVE:

If the casualty shows signs of becoming responsive, such as coughing, opening eyes or speaking, and starts to breathe normally, put them in the recovery position.

Leave the defibrillator attached.

Monitor their level of response and prepare to give CPR again if necessary.

WHERE CAN I FIND MY NEAREST DEFIBRILLATOR?

Defibrillators can often be found in or outside public places such as:

  • train stations
  • airports
  • supermarkets
  • shopping centres
  • gyms
  • village halls.

There is currently no national database of defibrillator locations, so it’s important to make sure you know where your nearest defibrillator is.

 

HOW TO PUT AN ADULT IN THE RECOVERY POSITION

It’s safe to place someone in the recovery position who is not responding to you, but is breathing normally. When someone is put into the recovery position, their airway is kept open and any vomit would drain away without interfering with their breathing.

Here’s what to do:

STEP ONE:

If you find someone collapsed, you should first perform a primary survey. If it shows that they are unresponsive but breathing, put them in the recovery position.

STEP TWO:

  • Kneel by the casualty and straighten their legs.
  • If they are wearing glasses, or have any bulky items in their pockets, remove them.
  • Do not search their pockets for small items.

 

 

STEP THREE:

  • Place the arm that is nearest to you at a right angle to their body, with the elbow bent and their palm facing upwards.

STEP FOUR:

  • Bring their other arm across their chest and place the back of their hand against the cheek nearest to you. Hold it there.

STEP FIVE:

  • With your other hand, pull their far knee up so that their foot is flat on the floor.

 

STEP SIX:

Keeping the back of the casualty’s hand pressed against their cheek, pull on the far leg to roll the casualty towards you on to their side. You can then adjust the top leg so that it is bent at a right angle.

STEP SEVEN:

Gently tilt the casualty’s head back and lift their chin to make sure their airway stays open. You can adjust the hand under their cheek to do this.

STEP EIGHT:

Call 999/112 for emergency help, if it hasn’t already been done. Monitor their level of response while waiting for help to arrive.

If they remain in the recovery position for 30 minutes, roll them into the recovery position on the other side.

A huge thank you to St John’s Ambulance for providing the information found in this article. For more emergency first aid information and advice, or to book onto one of St John’s Ambulance’s first aid courses, visit their website

St John’s Ambulance Newcastle, St John House, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE4 9PQ

 

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