Would you carry out CPR in an emergency?

Posted on: 20 April 2011 by Rhian Mainwaring

No? Well you’re not alone! Read on to learn how to deal with an emergency

CPRA national survey of 2,784 people showed that only 14% of people would act to administer CPR if they witnessed a child collapse in the street, only 38% said they’d administer it on a family member and strangely, 48% of those who knew how to do CPR would actually put their skills to the test on the spot.

Clive James, Training development manager at St John Ambulance says “These findings reveal a nationwide lack of knowledge and confidence towards CPR.The survey has highlighted a need to raise awareness of guideline changes such as the fact that anyone can now  use a defibrillator, and we want to encourage all members of the public to try CPR in an emergency situation, as ‘having a go’ is better than doing nothing and could help save a life.”

Key findings…

Most people don’t know when to use a defibrillator

58% of respondents didn’t know when to use a defibrillator

Only 41% knew to use one on a casualty that is unconscious and not breathing

56% mistakenly thought they should be used when someone had a heart attack

Fact: Anyone can use a defibrillator. They’re increasingly available to the public and carry clear instructions offering you a step by step guide to saving a life. It is an automated device used to shock the heart of a casualty who is unconscious and not breathing in a normal rhythm. 

Prior knowledge is key

80% of participants said that if they had previous knowledge of the defibrillator they’d be more confident to use it.

70% said they’d be more confident administrating first aid if they could refer to a manual.

Calling an ambulance

Did you know that calling 112 will also get you through to the emergency services? 

We asked the NHS for a CPR manual, so that we all know what to do in an emergency...

If a person is not breathing normally after an accident you should call for an ambulance and then, if you are able to, start CPR (also known as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) straight away.

CPR, or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, is a combination of rescue breaths and chest compressions to keep blood and oxygen circulating in the body.

For adults

1. Place your hands on the centre of the person's chest and, with the heel of your hand, press down (4-5cm) at a steady rate, slightly faster than one compression a second. 

2. After every 30 chest compressions, give two breaths. 

3. Pinch the person’s nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth. Check that their chest rises. Give two rescue breaths, each over one second. 

4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives. 

For children

For children aged one to puberty.

1. Open their airway by placing one hand on the child’s forehead and gently tilting their head back and lifting the chin. Remove any visible obstructions from the mouth and nose. 

2. Pinch their nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth, check that their chest rises. Give five initial rescue breaths. 

3. Place your hands on the centre of their chest and, with the heel of your hand, press down one-third of the depth of the chest using one or two hands. 

4. After every 30 chest compressions (at a steady rate, slightly faster than one compression a second) give two breaths. 

5.Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives. 

For babies under one

1.Open the baby's airway by placing one hand on their forehead and gently tilting the head back and lifting the chin. Remove any visible obstructions from the mouth and nose. 

2. Place your mouth over the mouth and nose of the infant and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth, check that their chest rises. Give five initial rescue breaths. 

3 .Place two fingers in the middle of the chest and press down one third of the depth of the chest. After 30 chest compressions at a steady rate (slightly faster than one compression a second) give two breaths. 

4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives. 

If you'd like to find out more you can sign up to a First Aid course with St John Ambulance service or order a First Aid Manual written and endorsed by St John Ambulance, St Andrew's First Aid and the British Red Cross. You can also read all about first aid at the NHS Choices site, click here for more tips on dealnig with an emergency.

And remember, it's better to 'have a go' than do nothing at all, you could save a life!

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