Module 3: Managing an unresponsive casualty

The principles of resuscitation

Basic life support (BLS) and automated external defibrillation (AED) comprises the following elements.

  • Initial assessment
  • Airway maintenance and breathing
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated external defibrillation(AED)

The respiratory system

The main aim of the respiratory system is to supply oxygen

To all parts of the body. Breathing is essential to life.

When we inhale we breathe in a mixture of:

  • Nitrogen (79%)
  • Oxygen (20%)
  • Other gases (1%)

When we exhale we breathe out a mixture of:

  • Carbon dioxide (4%)
  • Nitrogen (79%)
  • Oxygen (16%)
  • Other gases (1%)

Airway maintenance

It is important that the casualty’s airway is open and remains open (Maintained)

Chest compressions

Chest compressions should be administered to a casualty who is not breathing normally. The depth of the chest compression is 5-6 centimetres (Similar to the height of a credit card) and the rate of compression should be 100-120 compressions per minute. 30 chest compressions should be administered prior to moving on to the rescue breaths (expired air ventilations)

Rescue breathing (Expired air ventilation)

After completing 30 chest compressions the emergency first aider should administer 2 effective rescue breaths.

Each breath should take one second to complete and the casualty’s chest should rise as in a normal breathing; this is known as an effective rescue breath. Administering the 2 breaths should not take more than 5 seconds to complete in total. Once the first breath is administered remove your mouth from the casualty’s mouth, turn your head and watch the chest rise and fall, then administer the second breath.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

CPR is a method of combining chest compressions with effective rescue breaths in order to artificially circulate blood and to put air into the lungs.