CPR Procedures

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is used as a lifesaving technique in emergencies. Individuals whose heart or breathing have stopped benefit from the procedures involved in CPR such as chest compressions and rescue breathing. The CPR procedures used depends on the victims situation and knowledge of the responder.

First Responder

A first responder or anyone first arriving at a scene or situation performs an assessment of the victim. The Mayo Clinic recommends checking the level of consciousness first by tapping the victim on the shoulder and asking, “Are you Okay?”. If no response noted and more than one person present at the scene, shout for help, have someone call 911 and begin CPR. Call 911 first if alone and retrieve an automated external defibrillator (AED) if available, following the instructions. Start CPR for 1 minute before calling 911, with the suspicion of suffocation.


Carefully place the victim on their back and initiate the next procedure, the ABCs.

A stands for airway. Open the victims airway by placing the palm of one hand on the forehead and gently tilt back while placing two fingers from the other hand under the chin and lift forward.

B means breathing. Look, listen, and feel for normal chest motion by placing an ear close to the person’s mouth and nose.

C stands for circulation. Medline Plus recommends not checking for a pulse unless trained in CPR or are a medical professional. Initiate chest compressions if no breathing or difficulty in breathing is observed.

CPR in Adults and Children

Start CPR in adults by placing a seal around the mouth and nose. The nostrils are pinched shut and the responder covers the person’s mouth with their mouth. Administer a slow breath, lasting for one second, then administer a second breath, making sure the chest rises with both. Start chest compressions. Place the heel of one hand on the breastbone–in between the nipples. Place the heel of the other hand on top. Perform chest compressions by using the weight of the upper body while pressing down hard, compressing the chest at least 2 inches. Let the chest rise completely after each compression. Perform the ratio of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths. Repeat until the person recovers or emergency help arrives.

CPR procedures in children ages 1 through 8 are the same except deliver chest compressions with one hand and administer the breathes more gently.

CPR in Infants

Start CPR in infants by placing a seal around the mouth and nose. The mouth and nose are completely covered by the responder’s mouth. Administer two gentle breaths, lasting one second at a time, ensuring the rise and fall of the chest. Imagine a line between the nipples, and place two fingers just below the line. Gently start chest compressions, compressing only one-third to one-half the depth of the chest. Perform the ratio of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths. Repeat until the infant recovers or emergency help arrives.

About this Author

Elizabeth Hamilton has been employed as a licensed practical nurse for more than a decade in various medical settings. She has written articles appearing on LIVESTRONG and eHow.com. Her vast knowledge and passion for medicine are incorporated into the articles she writes.