Adult CPR


Assess the Scene
  • Determine 
    • If it is safe to help
    • Number of patients
    • if you will need additional assistance from EMS
    • What personal protective devices are readily available to you
Assess the Patient
  • Check the patients for responsiveness
  • Tap on patient’s shoulder and shout “Are you okay?”
  • Look at the patient’s chest and face
  • Determine if the patient is breathing normally
    • Agonal breathing is NOT normal breathing and needs care
Activate EMS
  • Call 911 or direct a bystander to call 911 and return
  • Caller should give dispatcher patient’s location, details of emergency situation including how many patients are injured and what treatment is occurring 
  • Request AED machine, if available
Check Pulse
  • Check for pulse (about 10 seconds) in the carotid artery in the neck
  • If unable to locate a pulse, do not waste valuable time searching, immediately begin CPR

CPR Cycle

Begin cycles of 30 compressions (at a rate of 100-120 per minute) and then administer 2 rescue breaths

    Compression depth:
  • Adult: At least 2 inches, but no more than 2.4 inches
  • On the breastbone (sternum) of chest between nipples

C-A-B Order

Rescuers should assume cardiac arrest has occurred when encountering adults who have collapsed or are found unconscious. Immediately call or have a bystander call 911 and begin CPR.  

Use the C-A-B (Compressions-Airway-Breathing) Order
  • Begin 30 Compressions
  • Open Airway with head tilt–chin lift and check breathing, AT THE SAME TIME
  • Give 2 rescue Breaths 


For an unconscious adult immediately begin 30 chest compressions, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.  Administer to the breastbone (sternum). 

Compressions should be swifthard and consistent with a depth of at least 2, but no more than 2.4 inches of the chest.  Avoid leaning on the patient’s chest between compressions to allow for full chest recoil. 


Open the patient’s airway, using the head tilt-chin lift method and AT THE SAME TIME check for breathing (5-10 seconds).  Look into the patient’s mouth for an obstruction.  If you see an obstruction, remove it immediately. 
    If the patient is breathing:
  • Place the patient in the recovery position
    If the patient is not breathing:
  • Administer - Rescue breaths


Administer 2 rescue breaths (1 second each). 
    If the first breath does not make the chest rise:
  • Re-tilt the head and try the breath again 
    After administering 2 rescue breaths
  • Resume compressions 

Continue CPR Cycle until: 

  • AED becomes available
  • Patient shows signs of life
  • A second rescuer takes over
  • EMS arrives and takes over
  • You are too tired to continue