CPR First Aid

Learn How to Administer First Aid to Someone Who is Not Breathing

Learn How to Administer First Aid to Someone Who is Not Breathing

Everyone should be able to perform first aid, as it is a crucial skill. We’ll talk about what to do if someone isn’t breathing in this blog post. To begin with, you must ascertain whether the subject is genuinely unconscious. See if they react to any stimuli, such as being stroked or being addressed by name. You should check for breathing if they are not responding. Check for air movement by placing your hand on their chest. If there isn’t any breathing, start performing CPR right away.

How Should You Respond If Someone Isn’t Breathing?

Here is the step-by-step first aid in responding to someone who is not breathing.

D – Dangers

YOU are the most important person NOT the casualty. Ensure the safety of yourself (the first aider), bystanders and the casualty.

  • Checking for danger before approaching any situation is critical. Rushing into a situation without adequately. Assessing the situation can put yourself and others at needless risk
  • The amount of dangers greatly depends on the situation; hence it is important to assess each scene for possible dangers
  • Sometimes, danger can be avoided, or the casualty can be moved away from it.

R – Responsiveness

  • Check consciousness level, speak in a calm positive manner, identify yourself and ask if you can help.
  • Always approach a casualty with caution, feet first. If there is no response and it is safe to do so, implement C.O.W.S.
  • C can you hear me?
  • O open your eyes?
  • W what is your name?
  • S squeeze my hand?

Then grasp and squeeze the shoulders firmly to prompt a response. A casualty who fails to respond or shows only a minor response, such as groaning without eye-opening, should be managed as if unconscious.

S – Send for Help

Once you have determined the casualty requires medical assistance, you should next immediately send for help.

  • Yell out for assistance! If there are any bystanders, instruct them to call 000. If you are alone and have access to a phone, call 000 and clearly explain the situation.

A- Airway

Airway management is required to provide an open airway when the casualty:

  • Is unconscious
  • Has an obstructed airway
  • Needs rescue breathing

For responsive adults and children, it is reasonable to open the airway using the head tilt chin lift manoeuvre. Infants are left in the head position neutral position.

B – Breathing

  • Get close to the casualty, placing your ear just above their mouth.
  • Can you feel breathing on your cheek? Can you hear breathing?
  • By looking towards the casualty’s chest, you will be able to check for rising and falls of the chest.
  • If the casualty is breathing, it should be turned into the Recovery Position.
  • If there is NO SIGN OF BREATHING or the casualty is NOT BREATHING EFFECTIVELY,

you will need to proceed immediately to CPR.


Step 1: Compressions

All first aiders should perform chest compressions on all casualties who are unresponsive and not breathing normally.

Compressions are the first part of CPR used in conjunction with rescue breathing to circulate the oxygenated blood around the body.

Compressions are performed as follows:

  • Kneel beside the casualty (at the level of the casualty’s shoulders).
  • Locate the lower half of the sternum on the casualty.
  • Place the heel of the dominant hand in the centre of the casualty’s chest with the

another hand on top (or 2 fingers for infants).

  • Keeping your arms straight, and your wrists and elbows locked, press down vertically

to about a third of the casualty’s chest depth, then release pressure.

  • Give 30 compressions (about 100 to 120 per minute – around 2 a second)
  • Give 2 rescue breaths.
  • Repeat compression/breaths at a 30:2 ratio until help arrivesStep 2: Rescue Breath methods

After 30 compressions, perform 2 rescue breaths using one of the following methods.

Mouth to Mask

This involves using a CPR mask for providing rescue breaths.

  • The first aider exhales through a 1-way valve through the mask into the casualty’s mouth.
  • Head tilt is still required to open up the casualty’s airways. Full head tilts for adults and children while no head tilts for infants.

First aiders need not be discouraged from providing rescue breaths without a barrier device (e.g., a face shield) as the risk of disease transmission in normal non-pandemic circumstances is very low. However, first aiders should consider using a barrier device if this is available.

Mouth to Mouth

This is the recommended form of rescue breathing when a mask is not available.

The following steps should be taken to correctly provide mouth to mouth:

  • Head tilt/chin lift Method: Place one hand onto the forehead or top of the head. The other hand is
    used in conjunction by holding up the chin using the thumb and forefinger to open the mouth.
    Place the thumb over the chin below the lip and support the tip of the jaw with the middle
    finger and the index finger lying along the jaw line. Then gently tilt the casualty’s head back, not the neck, to open the airway.
  • Block the casualty’s nose using fingers on one hand
  • Take a breath and open your mouth as widely as possible
  • Make a firm seal of your mouth onto the casualty’s mouth
  • Exhale into the casualty’s mouth with the required breath size to inflate the
    casualty’s lungs. Visually view the rise of the chest
  • Give a second breath. Should take around one second per breath

Blocked Airway:

If the casualty’s chest does not rise during rescue breathing, check that:

  • The head is tilted back correctly
  • There is no foreign material in the airway
  • The seal of your mouth on the casualty’s mouth is firm
  • The nose has been blocked
  • Enough air is being blown in

D – Defibrillation 

Perform defibrillation immediately.

Where to Learn First Aid in Brisbane?

You can administer First Aid to someone who is not breathing. If you are interested in enrolling in a first aid course in Brisbane, contact CPR First Aid for more information.

RTO No. 21903: CPR First Aid was founded in 2007. We specialise in providing first aid training in CPR, asthma and anaphylaxis for a range of workplaces including childcare, schools and other industries in NSW, VIC, SA, WA and QLD. We are a Registered Training Organisation with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (No 21903). Our courses and Units are VET-accredited for workplaces in Australia.


You are capable to perform first aid for a non-breathing person even if it is a crucial skill. When someone isn’t breathing, perform DRS ABCD. You should check for breathing if they are not responding. Check for air movement by placing your hand on their chest. If there isn’t any breathing, start performing CPR right away. You must make effective CPR and respond quickly and correctly to save a life. We have a lot of different courses available in Brisbane, you may consider joining us in our CPR First Aid Australia.

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