First aid basics – chest compressions

On any first aid training course, you will learn how to administer emergency life support should you need to. A key part of this is clearing the airway and helping an unconscious and not breathing person to breathe, potentially saving their life.
In certain situations, chest compressions when carried out in conjunction with opening the airways are necessary to keep someone alive until emergency services arrive. They are a vital part of CPR and are best carried out by someone who has been properly taught on a first aid course and who has had some practice on a CPR dummy.
However, here are the basics it is very important to know:
  • Before carrying out chest compressions, call the emergency services to request help
  • Place the heel of your hand on the centre of the chest and your other hand on top – interlock your fingers
  • Perform the compressions by pressing down by five to six cm and then releasing, making sure to keep your fingers off the chest and your arms straight
  • Chest compressions should be repeated around 30 times at a relatively quick speed
  • After each set of 30 compressions, 2 rescue breaths should be administered
  • This cycle of compressions and rescue breaths should be continued until the person recovers and breathes normally, or the emergency services arrive – do not stop before then.

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