What is CPR?

CPR being demonstrated on a mannikin at a First Aid course

CPR – or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation – is known the world over for saving lives. A relatively simple technique, considering its reputation, it’s the go-to emergency procedure for a person whose heart has stopped beating.


The longer a person goes without oxygen, the more the likelihood of damage to their vital organs and even death.

CPR has the potential to keep the person alive long enough to receive professional medical attention.

There is no good reason not learn how to do CPR. You don’t need to be a health professional to gain expertise in this highly effective medical intervention, which is quick to both learn and execute.

But knowing how to do it properly is key. Learning it at a registered First Aid training course — such as those provided by Australia Wide First Aid in Melbourne’s CBD for example — is the recognised way to gain certification in CPR.

It has been long understood that CPR is something everyone should know how to do. For that reason, it is at the core of all accredited First Aid courses.

How Does CPR Work?

Before the COVID pandemic, CPR was performed by alternating chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing.

This process works to push oxygen into the lungs, so that oxygenated blood can get to the brain and keep the person alive.

This CPR technique, taught for many years at First Aid courses around Australia, involved 30 chest compressions and 2 deep breaths, repeating that cycle until proper help arrives.

Now, in times of infection concerns with COVID-19, the breaths are reserved for First Aiders with PPE in the form of face-shields. Chest compressions remain integral to CPR.

When is CPR Necessary?

CPR can be used in many different emergency situations. We’ve all seen those TV dramas showing someone who has been rescued from drowning by often questionable on-screen representations of CPR techniques

But there are literally hundreds of scenarios where timely CPR, done correctly, can mean the difference between life and death.

For instance, a massive heart attack that has rendered a person incapable of breathing can be counteracted using CPR.

Drug overdose is another example where CPR can save a life.

The whole point is to keep oxygen flowing in the injured party’s body long enough for them to get to a hospital.

Why Learn CPR?

Without oxygen, the human brain can survive for only 5 minutes, on average, before it is permanently damaged.

Used properly, CPR can dramatically increase a person’s chances of making a full and complete recovery, even after a serious injury or problem.

On the other hand, simply allowing a person to lie there without the benefit of CPR, while waiting for help, would increase their risk significantly.

Performing CPR is taking a proactive approach to a frightening and stressful situation. In the context of emergency medical attention, it’s also one of the easier things you can learn.

Refresher courses on CPR and other First Aid strategies have their place because treatments and products are continually evolving. And although, hopefully, you won’t be needing to use your First Aid skills too often, a refresher will help you maintain your confidence in those skills.

The Australian Resuscitation Council recommends renewing CPR certification every 12 months.

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