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Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Oh, and it might save a life too


999. What’s the address of the emergency?

Oh god. I think s/he’s dead. S/he’s dead!

We need to know what the address is so that we can get help on its way as soon as possible.

Oh, it’s 123 Some Street. My town.

And what’s the problem?

It’s my dad/mum. S/he’s collapsed and I don’t think he/she’s breathing.

Okay, I want you to look at them closely and tell me when they breathe.

No, s/he’s not breathing at all.

Okay I’m going to talk you through CPR. You need to place the heel of  your hand in the centre of the chest between the nipples. Place your other hand on top of that hand and press at least 2″ down. You need to press hard and fast, up to two times per second and we’re going to do this 600 times or until help arrives. Okay? Count with me: 1, 2, 3, 4….


999, What’s the address of the emergency?

123 Some Street. My town.

And what’s the problem?

Adult male/female. Unresponsive and not breathing. CPR in progress.

Okay thank you. Help is on its way.


If you’re really lucky neither of these scenarios will apply to you, yet you might well find yourself in the situation where you find someone who’s collapsed and isn’t breathing. CPR isn’t difficult; hell the reason I became a Community First Responder was because it amazed me how simple it is to make a huge difference to people’s lives. The best chance you can give someone who’s in cardiac arrest is to get CPR going as soon as possible. We call it the chain of survival:

An image showing the "chain of survival" which consists of early access, early CPR, early defibrillation and early access to an A&E department.


This chain of survival needs to happen within the “golden hour” and the sooner it happens the better. The brain starts to die within 4 minutes of not getting oxygen. Chest compressions keep getting the oxygen to the vital organs. How much of those first 4 minutes are taken up in the “before” phone call?

Learning CPR is easy. I’ll be honest, doing it for real isn’t pleasant, but you crack on and get on with it and you let your training take over. But given the choice of learning it in a training room with a dummy and learning it over the phone with a family member?  I know which I’d choose.


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