CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It’s a life saving medical procedure which is given to someone who is in cardiac arrest. It helps to pump blood around the person’s body when their heart can’t.

Performing CPR isn’t as complicated as you may think, and is a basic life-saving skill. CPR may be performed with chest compressions only, or a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths. A cardiac arrest is when your heart suddenly stops pumping blood round your body, commonly because of a problem with electrical signals in your heart. When your heart stops pumping blood, your brain is starved of oxygen. This causes you to fall unconscious and stop breathing.

Hands-only CPR

How to carry out a chest compression:

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the person’s breastbone at the centre of their chest.
  2. Place your other hand on top of your first hand, interlocking the fingers.
  3. Position yourself so that your shoulders are above your hands.
  4. Use your full body weight to press straight down around 5-6cm on their chest.
  5. Keep your hands in position, release the compression, and allow the casualty’s chest to return to its original position.
  6. Repeat these compressions – we recommend at a rate of 100 to 120 times per minute – until an ambulance arrives or you cannot continue due to exhaustion.

Tip: If you get too tired, get someone else to take over if they are nearby. Even if they are not sure what to do, you can instruct them – it’s really vital to maintain the chest compressions.


If you find someone not breathing, it is vital you call for help, dial 999, and start CPR. Ambulance service call takers are trained to give CPR guidance to help you so don’t worry if you cannot remember everything.

It is always worth attending a first aid course and learning CPR as you will be able to practice this life-saving skill on a CPR training manikin. Ice Blue Medical offer Emergency First Aid Training.