CPR is a Skill That Everybody Should Have - You Don't Have to Be Qualified to Use It!



The Australian Resuscitation Council says that any attempt at resuscitation is better than none - which means that you do not have to be "qualified" or "certified" to use CPR to try to save someone's life. Whilst this MAY be true, and we do agree with this approach, we also advocate for people learning how to perform GOOD QUALITY CPR.  Good quality CPR can be the difference between someone surviving a cardiac arrest, and someone surviving with all their faculties about them, and minimal or no organ damage.

Because the blood flow to the organs is stopped during a cardiac arrest, it means that the possibility of brain damage is high. By performing GOOD QUALITY CPR during a cardiac arrest, you are not only potentially saving a person's life, but you are also increasing the chances of that person surviving with better overall physical and mental outcomes.

We advocate learning CPR from a qualified training organisation so that you are prepared to respond appropriately in the event of someone being in cardiac arrest .

CPR Facts

When is CPR required to be used on someone?

CPR should only be performed on someone when they are: 1. Not responding - call Emergency Medical Services straight away (000 in Australia) AND send for an AED immediately. 2. If they are not breathing or not breathing normally or at all - someone in cardiac arrest may take occasional gasping breaths or sound like they are snoring - if they are not responding to touch or audible stimulus AND they are gasping or not breathing they need CPR at this point. Don’t wait until they are not breathing at all. If you are not sure whether a person is in cardiac arrest or not, you should start CPR. If a person does not require CPR, they will probably respond to your attempts - therefore they are responding, and by the definition above, do not require CPR, so you can stop.

Do I have to have formal training or be qualified to try to save someone's life with CPR?

No. Any attempt at resuscitation is better than none. If there are multiple responders available, and someone in the group has done first aid training and feels more confident, let them lead and guide you in what to do.

But, what if I injure them?  Can what I do make the person worse off?

No. When someone is not responding and not breathing normally, or at all, it doesn't get any worse for that person. Death will occur for them within a matter of minutes if CPR is not started, and an AED not sourced and brought to the scene and used. .

But, won't I break their ribs?

Possibly. It is a fact that performing CPR on someone is likely to break their ribs. However, a broken rib, or ribs, will mend. It is not possible to revive someone who has not had CPR performed on them after a period of minutes of delay, so fear of "hurting" them should not stop you from trying to save their life - they WILL thank you later!

So, how do I do CPR?

After calling for Emergency Medical Services; 1. Try to get the patient onto the floor - resistance agains the chest compression you will do will assist the process greatly.
2. Kneel down beside the patient.
3. Check for any obstructions to their airway. If it is obstructed, roll the patient on their side and clear the airway with a sweeping motion through their mouth. Allow any debirs or matter to fall out as you gently tip their head to the side.
4. Place the "heel" of one hand in the middle of the patients chest - over the sternum.
5. Place the other hand on top and interlock your fingers.
6. With locked elbows, push down quickly and firmly on the middle of their chest.
7. Allow your hands to snap back fully to the recoil position (natural resting position of the patient's chest)
7. Do this at the rate of two pushes (or compresssions) every second.
8. If you are comfortable providing breaths, then do 30 compressions, stop, tilt the patients head back slightly, allowing the airway to open to the lungs, and do 2 strong breaths into their mouth - you should see the patient's chest rise. 9. If an AED is brought to the scene, remove the patient's clothing to expose bare skin, and apply the pads of the AED to their chest. Press the power button on the AED and follow the voice prompts. 10. Continue until the patient becomes responsive, or until EMS arrive.

Do I have to do breaths?

No. If you are not comfortable providing breaths to a stranger, then you do not have to do breaths There is a lot of evidence to suggest that breaths are not as essential as the flow of blood around the body to the brain is. There are many organisations who advocate for "hands only CPR". The issue of breaths has been a barrier to many people providing CPR over the years, and many people have died as a resuly of responders not wanting to perform CPR on them because of the perception of the requirement to do breaths. This is now not the case, and organisations are advocating for the preference of compressions over the necessity of breaths.

What does CPR do? Why am I doing this?

CPR works by manually pumping the patient's heart for them, pushing blood around the body to keep the brain and vital organs alive. By performing CPR, you circulate the blood so it can provide oxygen to the body, and the brain and other organs stay alive while you wait for the ambulance. Without good quality CPR being performed, and the brain being perfused while you are waiting for EMS teams to arrive, the brain will die within 3-4 minutes. CPR is essential for maintaining good neurological outcomes for cardiac arrest patients when they survive their heart event.

Will I be able to save someone's life with CPR alone?

CPR alone is very unlikely to restart the victim’s heart. Therefore, CPR alone is unlikely to revive a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. These victims require urgent defibrillation. There is usually enough oxygen still in the blood to keep the brain and other organs alive for a number of minutes, but it is not circulating unless someone does CPR. CPR does not guarantee that the person will survive, but it does give that person a chance when otherwise there would have been none.