CPR during the covid pandemic

CPR during the covid pandemic

As you can imagine, for those providing CPR during the covid pandemic, this brings with it additional risks.

During CPR, there is always the potential for rescuers to be exposed to bodily fluids, as providing chest compressions or rescue breaths can aerosolise the naturally occurring fluids in the victims airway. Because of this, CPR is classed as an “Aerosol Generating Procedure” or “AGP” for short.

So what are the simple measures that you need to implement when providing CPR during the covid-19 pandemic?

The Resuscitation Council UK have released this brilliant short video that explains exactly what you need to do to keep yourselves safe should you need to provide CPR to a victim of a cardiac arrest.

How to provide CPR during the covid pandemic

The normal process for providing CPR is as follows, with the additional simple measures highlighted in green. Please note these instructions are for a typical CPR scenario, so you may need to adjust them slightly for the situation as you find it.

Remember: CPR is not given to people who are “alive”. You are trying to make this person “alive” again.

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Call 999 or 112 before commencing CPR if you are on your own. If you have someone else with you, they can make the call.
  • Get the casualty onto their back, lying on a hard surface (not a mattress, car seat, etc).
  • Place a cloth/towel/scarf over the nose and mouth of the victim. This will not harm them, or diminish your efforts in providing CPR.
  • CPR can be provided through clothing. It’s only when an AED/defibrillator is being used that you need to bare the patients chest.
  • Adults (12 years old and above):
    • Kneel down next to them.
    • Place the heel of one hand on the centre of their chest & place the other hand on top, interlinking fingers.
    • Straighten your arms & get your shoulders directly above/slightly beyond your hands.
  • Children (1-12 years old):
    • Kneel down next to them.
    • Place the heel of one hand on the centre of their chest. Use two hands if you need to bear down more on them because you are petite.
    • Straighten your arms & get your shoulders directly above/slightly beyond your hands.
  • Infants (0-1 years old):
    • Place the tips of your index and second finger on the centre of their chest.
  • Compress the chest 30 times, at least one third of its depth, at a rate of 100-120 beats per minute (roughly 2 times each second).
    • Yes it’s a long way. You’re trying to squeeze the heart which is somewhere in the middle of them.
    • Yes you will hear &/or feel the cartilage dislocating from the ribs and the sternum during the first couple of compressions. If you don’t, either you’re not pushing deep enough, or they were already broken.
  • Do not give the victim any rescue breaths. (Normally you’d give them two small, gentle rescue breaths at this point).
  • Continue providing hands-only CPR.
    • If you have someone else who can take over from you, you should swap with them after 1-2 minutes as you will become tired and less effective. Swap again every 1-2 minutes.
  • Keep going until;
    • the victim starts to breathe again on their own, or
    • the ambulance arrives, or
    • if you have an AED/defibrillator, it tells you to “stand clear” of the victim or “do not touch” them, or
    • you become too tired to continue further, or
    • the situation becomes too dangerous to continue.

Cardiac arrest in infants (0-1yo) or children (1-12yo) is unlikely to be caused by a cardiac problem and is more likely to be a respiratory one. Normally this makes ventilations crucial to the infant’s/child’s chances of survival. However, the Resuscitation Council UK Statement on COVID-19 in relation to CPR and resuscitation is relevant to all ages. Therefore, continue with “hands-only” CPR, and get the ambulance to them as quickly as possible.

Where can I learn CPR?

If you want to learn how to provide CPR in a safe classroom environment, please book on a course with us. Unfortunately the Covid lockdown has stopped all face to face training courses, but we’re still able to run our webinar courses and our e-learning first aid courses, such as these;


I hope that this has been useful to you. Providing CPR during the covid pandemic is going to be an additionally stressful situation for all those concerned, not least the responder. Hopefully this blog post will help to allay some of those fears, teach some how to provide CPR, and act as a refresher for those who already knew how to provide CPR.

Take care, keep safe & I hope to see you on a course soon.


CPR during the covid pandemic

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