6 steps to restart a heart
If someone is unconscious and not breathing, perform the actions below and become a life saver.
Step 1: Shake and shout
Always look out for risks before you start. Check for a response by gently shaking the shoulder and shout for help.
Step 2: Check if the person is breathing normally – for no more than 10 seconds.
If they are making gasping noises this isn’t normal. Open the airway by gently tilting their head back and lifting their chin.
Step 3: Call 999 emergency services
If no one is around to help, put your phone on loudspeaker so your hands are free, the operator can talk you through how to perform CPR if you're unsure.
Step 4: Give 30 chest compressions
Start compressions as soon as you can. Place the heel of one hand in the centre of their chest. Place the other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers.
With straight arms, use the heel of your hand to push the breastbone down firmly and smoothly, so that the chest is pressed down between 5–6 cm, and release.
Do this at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute – that’s around 2 per second.
Step 5: Give two rescue breaths
Open the airway - tilt the head back and lift the chin. Pinch the soft part of the person’s nose closed. Take a normal breath, make a seal around their mouth and breathe out steadily.
The person’s chest should rise and fall. Keeping the person’s head back and the chin lifted, take your mouth away, take another normal breath, and give a second rescue breath. The two breaths should take no longer than five seconds.
Step 6: Repeat until an ambulance arrives.
When you call 999, they can tell you if there's a public access defibrillator nearby.
Using a defibrillator
Don’t be afraid or worried. The defibrillator kit is easy to use with clear instructions. You can't do any harm using a defibrillator, as it will only deliver a shock if needed. If you're on your own, don't interrupt the CPR to go and get a defibrillator. If it's possible, send someone else to find one. You can find out how a defibrillators work here.
Don’t want to give rescue breaths? Hands-only CPR
Remember Vinnie’s video? We teamed up with professional hard-man Vinnie Jones to teach the nation how to do hands-only CPR – where you push hard and fast on the chest without giving rescue breaths.
Hands-only CPR still increases a person’s chance of survival. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.