All rescuers should perform chest compressions for all persons who are unresponsive and not breathing normally.

All rescuers, including health care professionals, should use unresponsiveness and absence of normal breathing to identify the need for resuscitation.

Immediately upon recognising that the casualty is unconscious and not breathing, compressions must be commenced.

Chest Compressions Only

If you are unable to or choose NOT to provide rescue breaths to the casualty you can provide compressions only. These compressions should be provided at a constant rate of approximately 100-120 per minute (approx. 2 per second).

Locating the site for Chest Compressions

Place the heel of the hand in the centre of the chest with the other hand on top. Avoid compression beyond the lower limit of the sternum. Compression applied too high is ineffective and if applied too low can cause regurgitation and/or damage to the internal organs.

Method of Compression

A casualty requiring chest compressions should be placed on their back on a firm surface before chest compressions, to optimize the effectiveness of compressions.

  • Kneel beside the casualty between the casualty’s neck and mid chest area.
  • Place the heel of one hand on the lower half of the sternum (this will be the centre of the casualty’s chest).  Now place the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand.
  • Be careful not to apply pressure over the ribs, the upper abdomen or the bony end of the breastbone.

For an infant casualty (0-1 year), the 2 finger technique should be used.

Have your knees shoulder width apart with your arms straight and your shoulders vertically over the casualty, and press down on the chest.

The depth of compression is approximately 1/3 of the casualty’s chest depth. Chest compressions should be performed at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute (almost 2 per second).

The pressure is exerted through the heel of the bottom hand and your body weight is the compressing force. You need to release the pressure on the chest after each compression without losing contact between your hands and the casualty’s chest. 

If the casualty’s signs of life return, please them in the recovery position and monitor their vital signs closely.