Information - Resuscitation

Information for Key Stage 3 and parents.

What is resuscitation?

Resuscitation is the emergency procedure used to help a casualty who has stopped breathing. This procedure is commonly called CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) as it involves the heart (Cardio) and the lungs (Pulmonary) with resuscitation.
First Aiders are not currently required to provide moth to moth resuscitation due to the risk of catching COVID-19 from a carrier. We therefore purely compress the chest non-stop. The compression of the chest draws in some air
to the lungs ensuring the body does get oxygen without mouth to mouth in the short term. Our aim of compressing and releasing the chest is to squeeze the heart and force blood out of the heart, through the blood vessels to the rest of the body.
By compressing the chest you are circulating oxygen through the blood to the brain. This will help keep the casualties tissues provided with oxygen until the ambulance arrives. It is unlikely resuscitation alone will save a casualty, as it does not treat
the cause. It is therefore important an ambulance is called quickly for them to arrive with a defibrillator and the required drugs to save a life.

Steps to carrying out resuscitation

  1. Danger
    Approach your casualty checking for any danger before kneeling down next to them.
  2. Response
    On an adult to see if they are responding, gently shake their shoulders, talk to them and ask them to clasp your hand.
    If they are not responding and you are on your own, shout for help. Then continue to step 3.
  3. Airway
    Open the airway to ensure the casualty can breathe. Place one hand on the forehead and two fingers under the chin. Tip the head back to open the airway.
  4. Breathing
    Watch the casualties chest to see they are breathing normally, with the chest expanding to rise and fall.
    If they are not breathing normally, continue to step 5.
  5. Call the emergency services asking for an ambulance for an unresponsive non-breathing casualty.
  6. Chest compressions
    • Cover the face and nose with a cloth to protect you from the risk of COVID.
    • Kneel next to the casualties chest.
    • Place the heel of your hand in the centre of the chest.
    • Place your other hand on top of your hand and interlock your fingers.
    • Bring yourself vertically up over the casualty with your arms straight.
    • Press down vertically onto the adult at depth of 5 to 6cm.
    • Release all pressure from the chest, but do not take hands off the chest.
    • Repeat compressing the chest at up to 6cm in-depth, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
  7. Keep compressing the chest until one of the following happens
    • An ambulance arrives and the paramedic asks you to stop
    • Your casualty shows signs of breathing.
      Check they are breathing normally for up to 10 seconds. If they are breathing, place in the recovery position, otherwise continue with chest compressions.
    • You are exhausted and it is not safe for you to continue
  8. Once the situation is dealt with and you have passed the casualty over to the ambulance service, complete the following.
    • Clean up any equipment.
    • Clean your hands.
    • Talk to someone about what you have just been through.

Swapping First Aiders

If other people have come to help you, you should consider swapping who is providing chest compressions every 2 minutes as it is very tiring. It does not matter if they have First Aid Certificate, as long as they know what they are doing, which they can learn from watching you. The most important part is the casualty is getting constant effective compressions to circulate blood around the body.

When you are going to swap, get the other person to kneel opposite you in line with the casualty chest (where space allows). As per point 6, ask them to place one hand on top of the other and interlock their fingers. Inform them that you will count down compressions and then you will swap. Once they are in high knell position, count down your compressions and at the end move your hands out the way. Then get them to take straight over with compressions. Do not have a gap in compressions.

If there is no space for the other person to kneel opposite, count down and at the end, move out of the way, allowing the other person to quickly kneel down and start compressions.

Normal breathing

When checking a casualty for breathing, we are looking for what we call 'normal breathing'. An adult breathes 16-20 breaths a minute and we are looking for this regular chest expansion of breaths.

When a casualty is dying, these regular breaths stop and a casualty will try to use shoulder muscles to draw breaths, but this is not effective. We will see a casualty looking 'grey', blue around the lips and ear lobes. It is important we recognise these dying gasps and commence CPR, not mistaking it for a casualty breathing.

You can see an example of a casualty not breathing normally here. Viewer Caution - Please note the video contains real-life scenes of an individual suffering a cardiac arrest and paramedics working to save them. This BBC documentary follows the work of the air ambulance and captures the helicopter dispatcher suffering a heart attack and the team immediately responding.