Basic Life Support and CPR 



Basic life support means taking some basic steps to attempt to keep an unconscious patient alive until advanced medical care can be provided. If you encounter a person who appears to be unconscious, follow the steps known as DRS-ABCD:




Before approaching the patient, check that it is safe to do so. Examples of potential hazards include traffic and live electrical wires.


Is the patient responsive? Shake the patient’s shoulders and exclaim loudly:

  • Can you hear me?
  • Open your eyes!
  • What’s your name?
  • Squeeze my hands!
You may find it useful to remember that the four questions above start with the letters: COWS.


Send for help
If the patient does not respond, call 000 if a phone is available. If no phone is present, ask a bystander to get to a phone to call an ambulance.


It is important to check the airway is clear. An unconscious patient may not be able to breath due to their tongue falling back in their throat or due to debris in their mouth. See the video provided for more information on how to check the airway.


Check for breathing. If the patient is not breathing regularly, commence CPR. See the video provided for more information on how to check for breathing.


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) pumps blood around the patient’s body, delivering vital nutrients to the brain and other organs. See below for more information on how to perform CPR.


An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a device that can deliver an electrical shock to effectively reboot the heart in some situations. 


CPR steps for adults and children

  • Lie the victim on their back on a flat, solid surface.
  • Place the heel of one hand in the centre of the patient’s chest (the lower half of the sternum is a good choice).
  • For adults and older children, place your other hand on top of the first to provide extra strength. For younger children, a single hand should provide sufficient strength.
  • Keeping your hand(s) in contact with the chest, compress the chest by about one third. This is quite a signifcant depth and you may break the patient’s ribs, but broken ribs are better than the alternative (death).
  • Compress the chest 30 times at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. In practical terms, this means you should compress 30 times to the beat of the Bee Gee’s Staying Alive. There are 30 beats in this part of the song.
  • Once you have completed 30 compressions then stop the compressions, pinch the victim’s nose and breathe twice into the victim’s mouth. Don’t breathe too hard – just give two normal breaths at a normal rate. As soon as the breaths have been issued, do another 30 chest compressions.  
  • Continue this 30:2 cycle – 30 compressions then 2 breaths. If there are other people around who also know CPR, then every 2 minutes swap the person doing the compressions. By swapping rescuers in this way, the quality of compressions is maintained.

Do not stop CPR until:

  • The victim responds or starts breathing normally;
  • You are too exhausted to continue;
  • A health care professional arrives and takes over CPR; or
  • A health care professional arrives and instructs you to stop CPR.

CPR steps for babies

The CPR procedure for babies is the same as for adults and children except for the following:

  • Instead of using a full hand (or hands) to perform chest compressions, place two fingers in the centre of the baby’s chest in line with both nipples.
  • When giving the baby mouth-to-mouth breaths, place your mouth over the baby’s nose and mouth. Give only a small breath or you may damage the baby’s lungs.

Putting It All Together


This video shows the entire process. There is a minor difference in the approach used in this video, namely that the trainer uses a DR-ABCD approach rather than a DRS-ABCD approach. Both approaches are highly similar but the DRS-ABCD approach is recommended by the Australian Resuscitation Council so is generally preferred.

Clinic Info

91 Coulson St,


Qld   4314


Tel: 4163 0023

(All Hours)

Fax: 4163 0024


Clinic Hours:


Mon - Fri: 8:00am-5:00pm 

Sat - closed

Sun - closed



Contact us

Address: 91 Coulson Street, Blackbutt, Qld, 4314

Phone: (07) 4163 0023

Fax:      (07) 41630024

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