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What is CPR?

CPR, Cardio (Heart) Pulmonary (Lungs) Resuscitation (Revival) is an emergency life saving procedure which is performed on people whose heart has stopped.  By pushing on the casualties chest and blowing into their mouth the rescuer is trying to keep the heart pumping and oxygen flowing around the body until an ambulance arrives.

Prompt bystander CPR dramatically increases the casualty's chances of survival, without oxygen the brain can only survive about 5 minutes before permanent damage sets in. It also helps to keep the heart in a state where it is better placed to respond to defibrillation.

In the UK the most common cause of an adult who has collapsed and stopped breathing is that they have had a heart attack which has then caused their heart to stop (cardiac arrest). However CPR is also performed on people who have drowned, who have experienced a drug overdose as well as on choking casualties when back slaps and abdominal thrusts have not work and the casualty has collapsed. CPR can also be performed on children and infants although the protocol is altered slightly.


The Resuscitation Council (UK) is responsible for the resuscitation guidelines for adult basic life support (BLS) used by first aid training providers and in hospitals in the UK.  The guidelines were last updated in 2021.

This is a link to the full details of the Resuscitation Council (UK) 2021 Adult Basic Life Support guidelines which also cover the safe use of a defibrillator and choking.

The guidelines still include using rescue breaths. If this is not possible or if you don't want to give breaths then compression or hands-only CPR can be performed and could still make all the difference!

I need a CPR Certificate

All React First, first aid courses will teach you how to perform CPR. If you have been told that you need a CPR certificate and you would like to attend the shortest course possible then coming on the 4 hour Basic Life Support and AED training course will give you what you need. 

React First runs public first aid courses in London for individuals to attend, you can see a full list of dates and venues and book online here.

We can also come to your workplace and run an in-house CPR course for your group at a time that suits you. 


Download UK Resus Council Adult Basic Life Support BLS and AED Guidelines 2021


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