What is CPR? 


Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) involves pressing hard and fast on the centre of the person’s chest and providing rescue breaths to help save their life. It is a simple, easily learned emergency procedure used when someone’s breathing and heartbeat stop suddenly (cardiac arrest).


For those who are trained, it is best to give both compressions and breaths, with as little interruption as possible to the compressions. Every second that there are no compressions, there is no oxygen going to the brain. From the moment the heart stops (otherwise known as cardiac arrest or clinical death) there is only 4 minutes before brain cells start dying and after 10 minutes, in normal circumstances, brain death or biological death occurs. When we perform CPR we stop the clock at that point and allow for the possibility of the casualty recovering.


The sequence for adult CPR is simple:


  • Check the area is safe 
  • Shake and shout
  • Call for help
  • Open airway by placing one hand on the forehead and the other 2 fingers under the chin
  • Check for breathing for 10 seconds
  • Clear chest & give 30 compressions with 2 hands, fingers and elbows locked, hands clasped
  • Close nose, open mouth, breathe into casualty’s mouth, turn your head & breathe again
  • Repeat until help arrives


For child and infant the sequence of 30 compressions to 2 breaths in the same, except we wait 2 minutes before going for help as with a child or baby the possibility is greater that there may be a response as with a child it’s more likely to be respiratory arrest causing the cardiac arrest. 


It’s very important to check in advance for your nearest AED (Automated External Defibrillator). These can be found in GAAs, Schools, churches, shops and businesses all around the country. There are volunteer CFR groups in operation all around the country and you can check the location of your nearest AED on www.cfr.ie


Training can hugely increase the effectiveness of your treatment.

Training in CPR & the use of the AED takes 5-6 hours and is available nationwide at www.redcross.ie