Performing CPR on a mannequin


How to perform CPR

Always call Triple Zero (000) for emergency assistance in Australia. This information is not a substitute for proper CPR training by an accredited organisation.

What is CPR?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. CPR is a lifesaving technique that can be used in emergency situations. CPR is performed when someone has stopped breathing, or their heartbeat has stopped. It involves hard and fast chest compressions, and it can be performed by both untrained and trained bystanders.

Why is CPR important?

CPR can save lives. In an emergency situation, for example a heart attack or near drowning, CPR can keep blood circulating through the body, delivering vital oxygen to the brain and other organs.

If you are unsure or afraid to perform CPR, remember that it’s always better to try than to do nothing at all. There is typically enough oxygen still in the blood to keep the brain and organs supported for a short time, but it isn’t circulating unless CPR is performed. Without CPR, it only takes a few minutes before brain injury can occur due to a lack of oxygen.

If you are untrained, immediately call Triple Zero (000) and the Operator will provide step-by-step CPR instructions until help arrives.

How to perform CPR?

There are seven steps involved in CPR. In this video, an accredited CPR instructor from Response for Life explains how to perform CPR following the DRSABCD action plan. Make sure you also have the NSW Ambulance CPR Chart in a visible spot in your workplace, home, recreational area and pool.

What does DRSABCD stand for?

The acronym DRS ABCD (or Doctor’s ABCD) is commonly used to help you remember what to do during a medical emergency.

If there is no response;

When is CPR needed?

CPR is needed when a person is;

CPR is most effective when it’s commenced as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about CPR

Got a question about CPR? Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about CPR. It has been compiled with the expert guidance from the accredited Response for Life team.

How do I know when to start CPR?

CPR should be started immediately on someone who is unresponsive and not breathing, or not breathing normally.

When do I stop CPR?

Stop CPR once the person becomes responsive or normal breathing returns. You can also stop CPR once the paramedics arrive and advise they will take over. If you are becoming tired performing CPR, instruct a bystander to provide support if available.

What if I get tired while doing CPR?

It is common for rescuers to experience fatigue while performing CPR. It is advisable to ask bystanders for help and take over after two minutes of compressions to maintain high quality CPR. Minimise interruptions during handover.

Should I check for a pulse?

The current Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines do not require bystanders to check for the victim’s pulse. Follow the DRSABCD.

Do I need to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when doing CPR?

The current Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines for CPR is 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths. If a responder is not willing or able to perform rescue breaths, chest compressions only or hands-only CPR should still be performed. The victim may have vomit or bleeding from the mouth, which may pose danger to the responder performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Is DRSABCD applicable for children?

Yes, for children, one hand is to be used when performing CPR compressions. Also, most AEDs have child pads available to accommodate children.

Do I need to do CPR if I have a defibrillator?

CPR and AED should be used together. An AED is not a substitute for CPR.

Should I learn CPR?

Yes! CPR is a life-saving skill that should be learned by everyone regardless of age and experience. CPR training should be renewed every year.

Do I need training to perform CPR?

No, CPR can be performed by an untrained bystander. Call triple Zero (000) immediately and an Operator will provide CPR instructions. Remember, CPR can save a life, so it’s always better to try than to do nothing at all.

Is there any difference performing CPR on women?

No, there is no difference when performing CPR for a man or woman. Some considerations when performing CPR may include the removal of the underwire bra if the use of an AED is required.

Research has shown that bystanders are less likely to perform CPR on women than they are on men due to concerns over inappropriate touching, fear of causing injury and poor awareness of cardiac arrest in women.

Though these concerns are understandable, it is best to assume the person is in cardiac arrest and requires urgent assistance. To protect bystanders who are acting in good faith, all Australian states and territories have Good Samaritan legislation.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years