CPR Basics: How to Perform Chest Compressions and Rescue Breaths

CPR Basics: How to Perform Chest Compressions and Rescue Breaths


Imagine you're in a situation where someone suddenly collapses and stops breathing. Every second counts, and your knowledge of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) can make the difference between life and death. CPR is a vital skill that can help maintain blood circulation and provide oxygen to the brain until professional medical help arrives. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the basics of CPR, focusing on chest compressions and rescue breaths, so you can be prepared to act in emergencies.

Understanding CPR's Importance:

Before we get into the practical aspects, let's understand why CPR is so crucial. When someone's heart stops beating or they stop breathing, oxygen-rich blood isn't reaching the brain and other vital organs. CPR can buy time, helping to restore some circulation and oxygenation until professional medical assistance arrives.

Step-by-Step Guide to Chest Compressions and Rescue Breaths:

Let's break down the process of performing CPR into clear, manageable steps.

  1. Ensuring Scene Safety:

   - The safety of both you and the victim is the top priority. Ensure that the environment is safe to approach.

  1. Checking Responsiveness:

   - Approach the person and tap them gently while asking loudly, "Are you okay?" If they don't respond and you suspect a cardiac arrest, it's time to act.

   - If they are unresponsive and not breathing or only gasping, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

  1. Clearing the Airway:

   - Place the person flat on their back on a firm surface.

   - Carefully tilt their head backward and lift the chin upward to open the airway. This ensures a clear path for air to enter the lungs.

  1. Starting Chest Compressions:

   - Position yourself beside the person's chest.

   - Place the heel of one hand on the center of their chest, just below the nipple line.

   - Place your other hand on top of the first hand, interlocking your fingers.

   - With your arms straight, use your upper body weight to compress the chest hard and fast. Aim for a depth of about 2 inches (5 centimeters).

   - Push at a rate of about 100-120 compressions per minute. This is equivalent to the beat of the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees.

  1. Incorporating Rescue Breaths (Optional):

   - After 30 compressions, you'll need to provide two rescue breaths.

   - Ensure the person's airway is still open (head tilted, chin lifted).

   - Pinch the person's nose shut, create a seal by covering their mouth with your own, and give a breath that lasts about one second, making the chest rise visibly.

   - Allow the chest to fully recoil between each compression and rescue breath.

  1. Continuing the Cycle:

   - Continue the cycle of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths.

   - Keep performing CPR until one of the following happens: the person starts breathing, an automated external defibrillator (AED) becomes available and is ready to use, professional help arrives, or you become too exhausted to continue.

When to Stop CPR:

   - CPR is physically demanding, and you might become fatigued. It's important to know when to stop if necessary.

   - Stop if the person starts breathing normally, shows signs of life (like moving), or if professional medical help arrives and takes over.

Hands-On CPR Training:

While this guide provides an overview of CPR basics, hands-on training is essential to become proficient in this life-saving technique. Consider enrolling in a certified CPR course, where you'll have the opportunity to practice on mannequins and learn from experienced instructors. Check out our training center for informatin.


CPR is a skill that everyone should consider learning. It's not just for healthcare professionals; it's for ordinary people like you and me who may find ourselves in a position to help during an emergency. Remember, when it comes to CPR, something is always better than nothing. By taking the time to learn these CPR basics, you're equipping yourself with the knowledge and confidence to potentially save a life when it matters most. So, take that first step, and consider enrolling in a CPR course today. Your actions in a critical situation could make all the difference.

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