CPR + First Aid Certification Manual: Ventilations for Adults

CPR: Head-Tilt Chin-Lift

To ventilate an adult victim, the rescuer will need to open the victim's airway using the head tilt-chin-lift maneuver. This method is completed by placing one hand on the victim’s forehead, tilting the victim’s head backwards, while taking two fingers from the other hand to lift the chin up. This maneuver will align the victim’s airway and allow for oxygen to pass into the lungs. If there is any visible airway obstruction that is safely and easily removable, remove or move aside the blockage (the tongue is the most common). Chest rise should be visible if rescue breaths are completed correctly.

A barrier device should always be used when giving ventilations. Ventilations should be given at a rate of 2 breaths per every 30 compressions, with each breath given for 1 second. In many cases, cardiac arrest is proceeded by respiratory arrest. If an adult victim has quit breathing but still has a pulse, rescue breaths should be given at a rate of 1 every 5-6 seconds.

Fast Fact: Exhaled air contains approximately 17% oxygen and can still be used to sustain life in a victim.

Quick Tip: The head tilt-chin lift method should not be used if spinal trauma is suspected. A jaw-thrust is recommended in that situation.

CPR: Single Rescuer Ventilations

When using a bag valve mask (BVM) or a pocket mask in a single rescuer setting, the rescuer should start by positioning themselves at the head of the victim and ensure the correct position of the mask to maximize the effectiveness of CPR. The mask should be placed over the victim's mouth and nose. The rescuer should use the E-C Clamp to complete the seal of the mask. The rescuer will then deliver a breath for 1 second.


In a multiple rescuer situation with a BVM, one rescuer should be positioned at the head of the victim with both hands on the mask using the E-C Clamp technique to ensure a proper seal. Chest compressions are the most crucial component of CPR, as they help maintain blood circulation. The second rescuer will then deliver a breath for 1 second by squeezing the bag portion of the BVM while the first rescuer performs compressions on the victim's chest, ensuring proper placement and technique to mimic the normal activity of the heart.

Airway and Breathing are the second and third steps in performing: C-A-B