How to Do Compression Only CPR?

The 2011 CPR guidelines, as recommended by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR), allow for compression only CPR in some circumstances. It is important to not that if you are required by your workplace to have CPR training to follow the most effective CPR guidelines,  30 chest compressions per 2 ventilation’s. The CPR technique outlined here is for circumstances outside the workplace where a rescuer is not required to intervene, does not have protective equipment, but wants to help a victim that needs CPR.

The material posted on this page is for information purposes only, if you want to learn effective CPR take a CPR course with a credible provider. We are partnered with credible providers throughout Canada including in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina and Ottawa. For more information about our training partners visit our locations page. Canadians have the option of selecting from several credible providers. Here is a list of the most popular providers in Canada:

  • workplace approved Training
  • The Lifesaving Society
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation


A adult victim is found lying on the street, with signs of substance abuse and blood in the mouth. The victim is not breathing. The rescuer, a volunteer outside of his or her workplace, does not have any protective equipment for ventilation’s.

Step 1:

Scene, victim and hazard assessment – The rescuer needs to make a scene and victim assessment prior to approaching the victim. This include checking the scene for any dangers (fire, wire, gas or glass is a popular and effective rhyme). If possible, the rescuer should also ask any bystander’s if they saw what happened to develop a history of what might have or had happened. If no dangers are present move on to step 2. If dangers are present contact 9-1-1 for further assistance. You can not help the victim if you become a victim yourself, stay safe and protect yourself.

Step 2:

Check the victim for responsiveness – The victim might be sleeping on the street. The rescuer should determine the consciousness of the victim. This is done by a method known as “tap and shout”, formerly known as “pinch and shout”. The rescuer will talk to the victim and tap the victim gently on the shoulders to assess responsiveness. Rescuers’ tap the patient on the shoulders as the victim may be deaf. If the victim does not respond move on to step 3.

Step 3:

Open the airway of the victim. To properly assess the victims’ breathing the rescuer must open the airway so that free movement of air through the victim can occur. This is done with the rescuer kneeling next to the victim’s head and placing two fingers under the jaw of the victim and the other hand’s palm on the forehead of the victim. The rescuer will gently pull the victim’s head back to open the airway. Once the airway is open move on to Step 4. If the rescuer suspects a spinal injury they can use a “jaw-thrust” method to open the airway. This technique is not covered in this post.

Step 4:

The rescuer must now check for breathing. Using a popular technique called “look, listen and feel”, the rescuer will put his or her ear next to the victims mouth, about two or three inches’ away and have his or her face looking at the victim’s stomach and chest. The rescuer will look at the victim’s chest to see if it is rising and falling and will feel and listen for breathing from the victims’ mouth. The rescuer will check for breathing for 5 seconds. In this scenario the victim is not breathing.

Step 5:

Send someone to contact emergency medical services (EMS). The rescuer should use a bystander to contact EMS by following the following steps:

  • Select a competent bystander: “Hey you in the black shorts!”
  • Tell the bystander to contact EMS: “Go call 9-1-1”
  • Tell the bystander the problem: “I have a unconscious, non breathing adult victim”
  • Tell the bystander to bring a automated external defibrillator or AED: “Bring a defibrillator or a AED”
  • Tell the bystander: “Report back to me as soon as possible”
  • Ask the bystander: “Do you understand?”

Altogether the rescuer should tell the victim:

“Hey you, in the black shorts! Go call 9-1-1 because I have a unconscious, non-breathing adult victim. Bring a AED and someone trained to use it. Report back to me as soon as that is all done. Do you understand?”

Step 6:

Landmark for chest compressions. The rescuer should begin non-stop chest compressions. In order to do chest compression effectively, they must be done in the correct location. To determine the correct location for chest compressions the rescuer should place his or her hands on the center of the chest. If the rescuer is comfortable exposing the victims’ chest, do so. The rescuer should place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest, approximately between the nipples. The second hand should interlock the other hand. The rescuer should apply as much force as possible through the heel of the first hand, not with the palm of the hand. With the arms straight and locked, with the rescuer on his or her knee’s the rescuer will do non-stop chest compressions at a pace of at least 100 chest compressions per minute. The rescuer should be careful to allow the chest do a full recoil between chest compressions. The chest compressions should be hard and fast, compressing the chest of the victim by about 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the victims’ chest.

Stop the chest compression’s if:

  • The victims’ vitals change or if the victim regains consciousness.
  • If the AED arrives and it prompts you to stop.
  • If emergency medical personnel arrive and tell you to stop.
  • If you are too tired to continue.
  • If the scene becomes dangerous.

The material posted here is for information purposes only. If you want to learn compression only CPR take one of the following hands-on CPR classes:

  • CPR level “A”
  • CPR level “C”
  • Health Care Provider CPR (CPR HCP)
  • Emergency First Aid
  • Emergency Child Care First Aid
  • Standard First Aid
  • Standard Child Care First Aid

When You Do Have Protective Equipment

The Following Video is basic CPR for adult victims with instructions along the way:


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