Effective CPR is key to having a higher chance of resuscitating a patient who has had a heart attack. The optimum position for providing CPR is by the side of the victim to allow for easier movement between the compressions and the breaths. Compressions could be given over the head if the victim is in a confined space, for example, in the aisle of a plane or bus.

When performing chest compressions you should be pushing down 5-6cm at 100-120 beats per minute. Carry out 30 compressions for every 2 breaths, alternating between the two. Make sure that your hands are in the centre of the chest. Keep your arms and back straight and use your own body weight. Keep the depth and the rate going, when you start to tire, tell somebody to take over. The guidelines from the Resuscitation Council Uk say that you should change to another rescuer every two minutes for CPR to remain effective.

The release is as important as the press down in compressions. Make sure not to lean on the chest in between compressions. This is because the heart would then not be able to refill with blood. 


Early access to an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is key. The AED works by passing electricity across the heart, momentarily stunning it, allowing the heart’s own pacemaker to reset and function properly again. Sometimes, cardiac arrest is due to a lack of oxygen. In these cases, the defibrillator or AED will say no shock advised or no need to shock. In these cases monitor the patient and provide good effective CPR until the emergency services arrive.

Anyone can perform CPR, and the most important thing is to get the right rate and depth.

For more information on training courses, visit our “Courses” page which also includes our First Responder and First Person on Scene (FPOS) Courses. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact us via our website or call us on 01206 805359.