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CPR - Can you save a life?

 FA CPRDid you know?

In 2015-2016 280 people drowned in Australian waters. 21 of these casualties were children aged between 0-4 years of age.

(Royal Life Saving Annual Report 2016).





21 Child Drowning Deaths

As summer approaches, we would remind you to ensure that you take every precaution to prevent such tragedies from happening - particularly if you have a swimming pool and or young children. Supervise your children, restrict access to water and update your HLTAID001 Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training.

The most important consequence of drowning is an interruption of the oxygen supply to the brain. Early rescue and resuscitation are the major factors in survival. (Australian Resuscitation Council Guideline 9.3.2).

CPR is an emergency procedure which is performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person under cardiac arrest. It is used for those who are unresponsive with no breathing or abnormal breathing in an effort to create artificial circulation by manually pumping blood through the heart.

Current recommendations place emphasis on high-quality chest compressions over artificial respiration. CPR alone is unlikely to restart the heart; its main purpose is to restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart.

The objective is to delay tissue death and to extend the brief window of opportunity for a successful resuscitation without permanent brain damage.

Administration of an electric shock to the subject's heart, termed defibrillation, is usually needed in order to assist in restoring a viable heart rhythm. This is administered via an Automated External Defibrillator or AED. The importance of defibrillation has been well established as part of overall resuscitation, along with effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). You might notice that many businesses (particularly large ones), shopping centres and first aid kits now include AEDs- some being publicly visible and located throughout the premises.

Less than 1/3 of those people who experience a cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location have CPR performed on them.

Most bystanders are worried that they might do something wrong. ANZCOR, the Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation, places a higher value on the survival benefit of CPR initiated by rescuers for persons in cardiac arrest against the low risk of injury in persons not in cardiac arrest.

It is also claimed that there is a higher chance of CPR being performed if the bystander is told to only perform the chest compression element of the resuscitation. Bystanders are actively encouraged to perform CPR (at the very least, chest compressions), by the Australian Resuscitation Council. Research tells us that the risk of disease transmission during training and actual CPR performance is very low.


In case of a drowning…

It is vital to remove the victim from water as soon as possible. Rescuers must start CPR if the victim is unresponsive and not breathing normally, regardless if the victim takes occasional gasps. Resuscitation of drowning victims generally follow the ARC Basic Life Support Flow Chart, ARC Guideline 8. Victims of drowning are rolled onto their back for initial assessment, however, the exception to this is where the airway is obstructed with fluid (water or blood) or particulate matter (sand, debris, vomit). In this instance the victim should be rolled onto the side to clear the airway. The mouth should be opened and turned slightly downwards to allow any foreign material to drain using gravity.

Vomiting and regurgitation is common in drowning victims. If this occurs the victim should be rolled onto their side. Most victims of immersion will have water in their lungs.

The upper airway should be cleared of water and or foreign material by rolling the victim onto their side. Once the airway is cleared the rescuer should start CPR and continue to do so until:

  • Victim responds or begins to breathe normally;
  • It is impossible for first aider/s to continue (i.e. exhaustion);
  • A Health Care Professional arrives and takes over; or
  • A Health Care Professional directs that CPR cease.

If the victim regains consciousness and begins to breathe normally, they should be rolled onto their side in the recovery position and observed for changes in signs and symptoms until the ambulance arrives.

DA drown


Victims who appear to be successfully resuscitated require close monitoring for several hours following return of spontaneous circulation and breathing. They may relapse into cardio

pulmonary arrest due to persisting lung damage and hypoxic injury to the heart. It is therefore important to call for an ambulance for victims of an immersion event, even if minor or the victim appears to be recovered.



Could you save a life???

Refreshers of skills and certification are available through: 


Currency of training

First Aid training should be renewed every 3-years (mandatory for workplace first aiders under WHS requirements). CPR training should be renewed every 1-year, as recommended by the Australian Resuscitation Council.


Need more information?

Tactical Training (Australia) Pty Ltd is a nationally accredited provider for first aid training. Contact our friendly Customer Care team on:

08 8331 1620



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