CPR is commonly known as mouth to mouth resuscitation; this action saves thousands of lives every year. CPR for adults should be carried out as follows:
- Put your hands on the centre of the casualty’s chest and start to press down with the bottom of your hand; you should do 30 compressions, pressing down between 4 and 5 centimetres each time. Each compression should last just under a second.
- Give two rescue breaths; pinch the casualty’s nose, place your mouth over theirs and blow firmly. You should notice their chest rise as you breather into their mouth
- Continue with the compressions, 30 at a time followed by two rescue breaths.
CPR for children and babies is different so it is important to be aware of the different techniques
CPR for children over the age of 1
- With one hand on the child’s forehead, tilt their head back gently and lift their chin; this will open their airway (if there is a blockage, remove it.)
- Give the child 5 rescue breaths; place your mouth over theirs and blow firmly; you should notice their chest rise as you blow
- Give 30 compressions: you should push down to a third of the depth of their chest
- Give 2 rescue breaths
- Give 30 compressions: continue this cycle of 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths until the emergency services arrive
CPR for babies
- With one hand on the baby’s forehead, gently tilt their head backwards and raise their chin; this will open their airways (if there is a blockage, remove it)
- Give 5 rescue breaths by placing your mouth over their nose and mouth and blowing into their mouth; their chest should rise as you blow
- Give 30 compressions but just use two fingers to press down on the chest; push down on the chest to a third of the depth of their chest
- Give 2 rescue breaths and then 30 compressions until the emergency services arrive on the scene
What to do if someone has fallen
If you see someone fall check their ABC (airways, breathing and circulation). If they are conscious and breathing but are having trouble moving and are in severe pain, call the emergency services. Stay with them, keep talking to them and reassure them that help is on the way. They may have broken a bone or sustained a muscle injury so try and encourage them to stay still. If they fall unconscious be prepared to start CPR.
If the casualty is not breathing you should call 999 as quickly as possible and start CPR as outlined above. If you suspect they may have sustained a spinal injury do not try to move them but make sure their airways are kept clear by placing both your hands on either side of their face and gently lifting the jaw. Stay with the casualty until the emergency services arrive.
What to do if somebody has had a heart attack
Heart attacks can occur at any time and in any place; they should always be treated as a medical emergency.
Signs to look out for
Common symptoms of heart attacks include:
- Tightening and pain in the chest
- Pain in the neck and arms
- Cold skin
- Irregular pulse rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breathing difficulties
- Slight blueness in the lips
Tending to a heart attack victim
If you recognise some of the symptoms above, ring 999 as soon as possible. While you wait for paramedics to arrive, sit the casualty down, preferably with their back against the wall and their knees bent in front of them. If they have medication to control the symptoms, help them to take it and reassure them that help is on the way. Try to keep them talking. If they lose consciousness, you should prepare to open their airway; if they have stopped breathing, you should start CPR.
First aid for strokes
Strokes are very serious and they may often be life-threatening. You should look out for the following signs:
FACE: look at the casualty’s face; has it fallen on one side, is their mouth droopy and can they smile?
ARMS: is the casualty able to lift one or both of their arms?
SPEECH: is the casualty able to speak; if they are, is their speech slurred?
TIME: if you see the signs above, it’s time to ring 999