After our period of dealing with COVID and adapting first aid training to accommodate the safety of all with regards to CPR and the giving of rescue breaths, the Resuscitation Council have now announced that on first aid courses all delegates must again demonstrate how to give rescue breaths when performing CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation). All delegates must also show that they can perform 2 minutes of uninterrupted CPR as part of the assessment process to gain the qualification and be fully First Aid Trained.
I can’t tell you how many people state to me they have been told on previous first aid courses, that they don’t do the rescue breaths anymore whilst performing CPR on a non- breathing casualty, or a casualty who is not breathing normally.
On all regulated courses the administration of the two rescue breaths has to be taught. All delegates to attain their qualification MUST demonstrate in training that they can perform the two breaths.
However in the real world, the administration of the two breaths is at the discretion of the First Aider.
It states in The Resuscitation Council Guidelines 2015:
‘If trained and able, combine chest compressions and rescue breaths, otherwise provide compression-only CPR’
Trained and able are the key words. If the casualty has vomit, blood, poison on their face, then unless the First Aider has a CPR face shield then they probably would be unable to do the rescue breaths due to risk of infection.
If there are burns to the face, broken jaw, then again the First Aider would probably be unable to administer the two rescue breaths.
If the First Aider is not able to give the rescue breaths, then they would continue with hands only CPR, and now doing uninterrupted compressions as much as reasonably practicable. CPR should not be stopped until help takes over, the casualty starts breathing again, or the First Aider is too exhausted to carry on.
Remember doing something is better than doing nothing. It gives the casualty a better chance of survival.
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