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Dos and Don’ts of Performing CPR on Adults

Adult CPR
Written by Nancy

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a first-aid emergency procedure that is used to kick-start the heart of a person if it stops beating.

Administering CPR immediately can double—or even triple—the victim’s chances of survival, and greatly improves quality of life for the victim after cardiac arrest recovery.

In case an adult around you suffers from cardiac arrest, administer CPR. fully aware of all the steps you should carry out, and all the mistakes you should avoid.


  • Tap the patient or shake them to check for a reaction. This will establish whether they are conscious or not.
  • Call 911 immediately, before administering CPR. If the victim is unconscious, administer CPR for a minute and then call 911.
  • If you are not trained in standard first aid or emergency first aid, then it is recommended that you use hands-only CPR. Provide compressions at a rate of 100–120 per minute until the paramedics arrive.
  • If you have first aid training, then provide CPR with rescue breaths at a rate of 100–120 per minute, with 2 rescue breaths for every 30 compressions to ventilate properly.
  • If you have CPR and AED training and there is an automated external defibrillator nearby, use the AED after making sure that the area around the person is clear.
  • Make sure that the depth of the compression is around 2 inches.
  • Allow the full recoil of the chest after a compression before starting the next compression.


  • Administer compressions at a rate lower than 100 per minute or higher than 120 per minute.
  • Administer compressions that are at a depth lesser than 2 inches or greater than 6 inches. Compressions that are deeper than 6 inches could cause the victim’s ribcage to sustain damage.
  • If you do not have first aid training, do not try rescue breathing. This could block the person’s airways and make the situation worse.
  • Do not lean on or take support from the victim’s chest.
  • Do not pause excessively in between compressions. If there are pauses greater than ten seconds taken, then CPR ceases to have an effect.
  • Administer excessive ventilation. Too many rescue breaths or rescue breaths administered with too much force could cause the blockage of the victim’s airways.

Although CPR is a relatively common procedure that is covered by basic occupational first aid training Level 1 or Level 2, there is a lot of room for error. Metro Safety First Aid Training School provides Red Cross approved first aid courses to students across British Columbia. Call them today at 604-521-4227 or email them at to learn more about their courses.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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