CPR + First Aid Certification Manual: Recognizing Cardiac Arrest


CPR: Recognition of Cardiac Arrest
Assess scene safety

The rescuer needs to first assess the safety of the scene, so as not to put themselves, the victim or others at risk. An example of assessing scene safety would be to ensure that no vehicles are coming into a busy intersection or crosswalk where a victim lies unresponsive.

    Check for Responsiveness

    The rescuer will then need to check the victim for responsiveness by shouting, “Are you okay?” and physically shaking the victim to see if there is a response. The rescuer should continually be assessing the victim for breathing by watching for chest rise and fall as well as listening and feeling for breathing. If the victim is not breathing and the rescuer cannot assess a pulse, a call for help should be placed.

      Call for Help

      If the victim is unresponsive, the rescuer will need to designate a bystander to call for help. If no bystander is available, the rescuer should call for help and then start CPR.  After establishing contact with your emergency provider, the rescuer should place his/her phone on speaker, to listen for instructions while performing CPR.

        Retrieve an AED

        After the victim has been determined to be in need of CPR and additional help has been called, the rescuer will need to assign another bystander (if possible) to retrieve an AED if available.