Resource: First Aid & CPR

Performing Chest Compressions

When a casualty is in cardiac arrest, blood is not flowing around their body. By performing chest compression you can get the blood flowing again. High quality chest compressions are the second link in the chain of survival.

High quality chest compressions are the second link in the Chain of Survival

If the victim is not breathing normally or is only gasping, begin CPR, starting with chest compressions. Interruptions in chest compressions should be minimised, for example pause only when the AED is analyzing or shocking the casualty. Keep performing chest compressions until the ambulance arrives and they take over.

Hand Position

Positions yourself at the casualties side. Make sure the casualty is lying face up on a firm, flat surface. If the casualty is lying face down, carefully roll them face up. If you suspect the casualty has a head or neck injury, try to keep the head, neck and torso in a line when rolling the casulaty to a faceup position.


Place the heel of one hand on the centre of the persons chest on the lower half of the breastbone. Place the other hand on top. Straighten your arms and lean forward. 

Compression Rate

Give chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute.

This is the same pace as the well known Bee Gees song ‘Stayin Alive’.

Compression Depth

Press down at least 2 inches or 5cm with each compression (this requires hard work). For each  chest compression, make sure that you push straight down on the victims breastbone.

Chest Recoil

Chest recoil allows blood to flow into the heart. Incomplete chest recoil reduces the filling of the heart between compressions and reduces the blood flow created by chest compressions. 


Chest compression and chest recoil/relaxation times should be about equal.

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