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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

CPR (resuscitation) for adults & children

Whakarauora ā-kōpeketanga (CPR) ki ngā pakeke me tamariki

This page gives simple instructions on what to do if someone over the age of 1 has stopped breathing. If a baby has stopped breathing, see the information on CPR for babies.

If anyone else is there, ask them to help.

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It involves pushing on their chest and blowing air into their mouth to try to restart their heart and get them breathing on their own again.

Follow the instructions on this CPR video by St John

Basic resuscitation for an adult – remember DRs, ABCD

D – Dangers

Check the area is safe before you approach. If it is not safe, do not continue. Wait for help.

R – Responsive

Shout "Are you all right? Can you hear me?" and tap an uninjured part of their body. If they respond, put them on their side in the recovery position, and wait with them for help. If they do not respond, continue as follows.

s – Send for help

If no one has phoned for help yet, ask someone to phone 111. Tell them to let you know when they have. If you're alone, do steps A, B, and C below before calling for help.

Calling 111 for an ambulance has information about calling 111 in a medical emergency and what happens when you call.

A – Airway

Open their airway by tilting their head back and lifting their chin.

B – Breathing

Check if the person is breathing normally. If they're breathing normally, place them on their side in the recovery position. If they aren't breathing normally and are unresponsive, start CPR.


Start CPR. Do 30 compressions followed by two breaths. To do a compression, place your hands in the centre of their chest. Push hard and fast. If you're alone, do 30 compressions, followed by two breaths. Then stop and call 111.

D – Defibrillator

If you have a defibrillator (AED), attach it and follow the prompts. If not, continue CPR.

You can go to AED Locations to find your nearest defibrillator. You can also download an app from the iTunes store (accessible from Apple software) or the Google Play store to have these defibrillator locations on your phone.

Continue CPR until you get a response, or the person starts breathing normally again.

GoodSAM app

St John has a system that can notify a person who knows how to perform CPR and use an AED that someone nearby needs their help. It uses the free GoodSAM app.

If you know how to perform CPR and use an AED and are prepared to voluntarily respond to a patient suspected to be in cardiac arrest, consider signing up as a responder.

For more information see GoodSAM app on St John's website or this poster. Both tell you how to sign up as a responder and download the app.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2022.


Page reference: 141032

Review key: HIFAD-141030