A cardiac arrest is when someone’s heart suddenly stops beating, and their breathing is abnormal or has stopped.
Without quick action, the person will die. If you see someone collapsed and not breathing normally, you need to act fast so they can have the best chance of survival.
To learn how to perform CPR, watch our short animation video below. We also have versions of this animation in a range of language translations.
The steps you need to take to do CPR
Before you approach the person who has collapsed, check your surroundings for danger.
1. Shout for help.
- Shake them gently.
2. Look and listen for signs of normal breathing.
- Look for the rise and fall of their chest.
3. Call 999.
- Put the phone on loudspeaker and tell them you are with someone who is not breathing.
4. Fetch a defibrillator if you can.
- The ambulance call handler will tell you where the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) is. If someone is with you, ask them to fetch it and bring it back. Do not leave the person if you are on your own.
5. Start chest compressions:
- interlock your fingers
- place your hands in the centre of the chest
- push down hard and then release twice per second, and don’t stop. The ambulance call handler will help you.
6. If you have a defibrillator, switch it on and follow the instructions.
- A defibrillator will tell you exactly what to do. Visit our defibrillator page for more information about them.
7. Continue CPR until:
- the AED asks you to pause while it reanalyses and gives another shock if needed
- a paramedic arrives and tells you what to do
- the person shows signs of life.
By developing the skills and confidence to follow these simple steps, you could be a lifesaver in an emergency.