New Resuscitation Guidelines 2010


Did you know that modern CPR as we know it has been around for 50 years and has changed a few times over that time period? Those who have attended first aid courses often seem to think that it changes every time that they learn it which is not entirely true. The guidelines change on average every 5 years and yesterday (18 October 2010) new guidelines were published for the 50th anniversary.

Well over 30 000 people a year suffer a cardiac arrest but very few survive due to a variety of reasons, not least an unwillingness on the part of the general public to perform CPR.

Press Reports

In response to the new guidelines the BBC yesterday sensationally “warned” members of the public against giving what they archaically called the “Kiss of Life” unless they have been specifically trained to do so, stating that new guidelines have suggested that this is for the best. Only when you read through the whole article did you get to the part that said that if  bystanders are trained in  CPR techniques  including mouth to mouth (Kiss of life), then this remains  the best option.

In my opinion this type of sensationalist journalism, whilst trying to convey the message that any resuscitation attempt is a good thing, only serves to confuse and possibly will make those that have been trained uncertain about which route to take. As such the guidelines that were implemented in 2005 remain essentially the basis for the new current guidelines as seen below.

True Changes

Let me clarify, those that have been trained i.e. First aiders and those people with a duty of care such as  lifeguards and childminders should continue to do mouth to mouth ventilations as part of the sequence shown below (Adult Basic Life Support Algorithm) and are essentially the same as the 2005 guidance with a few minor modifications.

The following will explain why these modifications are necessary.

It is well recognised that initiating the Chain of Survival improves outcomes and leads to more people surviving cardiac arrest.

Basic CPR is unlikely to restart a heart that has stopped beating, but it does help keep blood flowing to the brain and helps keep that functioning so that when a defibrillator is used hopefully the heart will restart.

The chest compression component of CPR is therefore crucial in generating that blood flow. As such although the changes that have been made are fairly minimal from a first aid point of view, emphasis has been made on ensuring that good quality chest compressions are achieved in order to minimise the time spent without blood flowing around the body.


Compressions need to be faster and harder than before. Compressions should now be a rate of 100-120 per minute and should be pushed down to a depth of 5-6 cm.


Changes have also focused on the need to ask for an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) if one is available when calling for help (999). Increasingly theses devices are being found out and about in the big wide world and should be used if at all available. Crucially you now do not have to be trained to have a go at one although obviously it helps. They have been designed to be as simple as possible. You turn them on & follow the instructions.

For those without CPR Training

The newspapers and other media sources have picked up upon the guidance where someone is unwilling to or has never been trained in CPR. Then chest compression only CPR is acceptable, if the emergency services are a short distance away or if you are being instructed over the telephone.

Help to Save a Life

The key thing to take away from all this is to try to save a life, because at the end of the day this is what matters. If you’ve had a little training, call 999 and perform CPR as 30 compressions :2 breaths and if you haven’t, dial 999 follow their instructions keeping on going until the ambulance arrives.

Hopefully you will never need to put your skills to use but if you are ever in such a situation I hope you will try.

Kiss of Life or Not?

It has been reported today in a variety of newspapers (including the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail) that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may be a thing of the past.

The Study

The newspapers reported on a recent study undertaken by American researchers Dr Peter Nagele, of Washington University School of Medicine, and Drs Michael Hüpfl and Harald Selig, of the Medical University of Vienna, and published in the Lancet.  In particular, the study found that undertaking uninterrupted chest compression CPR improves chances of survival by up to 22% than when mouth to mouth was included.


These studies appear to have been conducted on people who have had no instruction in how to perform resuscitation and have started chest compressions on the advice of the ambulance despatch centre.

Current UK guidelines suggest that if you come across someone who has collapsed and is not breathing you should call 999 and then start CPR. CPR is started by doing 30 compressions, followed by 2 rescue breaths. However, if you are unwilling or unable to do the breathing bit than it is ok to just do chest compression CPR.

The UK Resuscitation Council is due to revise these guidelines early next week and minor changes may be made to CPR instruction.

However in the meantime, if you have had some training then please continue to resuscitate as you have been taught and follow those processes until your training provider has updated you.  If you have no idea what to do in an emergency,  call 999 or 112 and follow their instructions, as the ambulance service will be able to talk you through the process until skilled help arrives.

We will keep you posted with the latest guidelines as they are released.

For further information about resuscitation please see

A Stroke is a Medical Emergency


Stroke is the 3rd biggest killer in the UK yet many people still don’t know how to recognise the symptoms of stroke or how to help.  Over 150 000 people are affected by stroke each year and up to a quarter of these occur in those under the age of 65.

So what is a stroke? A good way to think about it, is as a “brain attack”. During such an attack blood flow to the brain is disturbed . This leads to part of the brain tissue being starved of oxygen and causing those areas of the brain to die resulting in loss of function in those areas.  It is usually caused by a clot or a bleed in the blood vessels in the brain which cause a blockage and prevent blood flow through the vessels.

Strokes can occur to anyone, of any age, at any time and are very definitely a medical emergency that needs to be treated either to prevent death or to minimise the long term effects of stroke injury.

Over the last few years, the Stroke Association has successfully launched the FAST campaign that is doing very well at highlighting the main symptoms of stroke.


The FAST acronym stands for

  • F – Face : Has the face become lop-sided, can the person smile evenly?
  • A – Arms:  Can the person hold both their arms out in front of them and keep them there?
  • S – Speech: has the speech become difficult, slurred or absent? Can they find and use words?
  • T – Time: If any one of these symptoms is present, it is Time for you to think F.A.S.T, act F.A.S.T and dial 999.

These are only a few of the symptoms but are the main ones to look out for.

What to do

From a first aid point of view, call 999, and explain the situation to the call handler.  Then, whilst waiting for the ambulance service to arrive, stay with the person, keep your patient warm and comfortable and provide reassurance that help is coming.

If the patient becomes unconscious, please put them in the recovery position.
For more information contact the Stroke Association on

Why First Aid Training is so Important

For a variety of reasons, having first aiders in the workplace is crucial. Not least because it’s a legal requirement to have minimum first aid provision in any workplace at all times. So unless your staff work 24/7/365 days of the year, you are likely to need at least 2 or 3 first aiders.

So what are some of the other important reasons for having trained first aiders in your workplace?

Saving Lives

First, and most importantly, first aiders are equipped with the skills to save a life, or at the very least to help someone feel better, which is no mean achievement.

Keeping calm

Being able to keep calm and remain focused in an emergency is a key skill learned by first aiders, that is also useful in a variety of situations; not just those relating to accidents and illness.

Confidence building

Being a first aider assists in developing an employee’s confidence, which can increase effectiveness at work.

Showing that you care

Having adequate numbers of staff trained in first aid demonstrates that you care for your workforce. This has a positive impact on your team which should reduce your share of the 30 million workdays that are lost through workplace injury and illness.

For Friends and Family

Finally, you never know when you are likely to need a first aider. Research has shown that you are more likely to perform first aid on someone you know, so it’s good to know that people around you have those skills.

If you would like to discuss your first aid requirements in depth or arrange some training, please call us on 01234 308740 or email us on  Alternatively you can now book online.

Pass the Thingummyjig: First Aid for DIY’ers

So the weekend is nearly upon us and plans are being made.  Believe it or not, the number of spare weekends are running out before family members descend for the Christmas hols. So the pressure is on to re-decorate, put up the new shelves, or build that flat-pack cabinet that’s been languishing in the corner of the garage.

Hopefully, you’ll have better luck than a friend of ours who recently managed to drill through the hot water pipe at the end of a major bathroom refurb.  In a scene somewhat reminiscent of Tom & Jerry cartoons, he was seen frantically putting his thumb over squirting water jets whilst his partner located the stopcock.  Fair play to them both though, the finished article is a fantastic job!

Over the last few years we have increasingly found our weekends and free time taken up with DIY and efforts to improve our homes.  Trips to IKEA and DIY superstores have become the national pastime. Did you know that nearly half of all adults have tried to assemble some flat pack furniture over the last 2 years?

We all know just how frustrating it can be trying to put them together, from instructions written in gobbledegook to discovering at the  last minute that panel ‘Z’ doesn’t quite fit where it should and you are left with three left over screws and a weird-looking bracket. Apparently these problems are not the only ones we face – accidents also happen rather too frequently.

A recent study carried out by University of Derby estimated that 1.8 million adults had been injured while carrying out DIY in the home last year, with tens of thousands requiring outside medical treatment.  That’s a lot of cut fingers, bashed thumbs and bookcases dropped on toes!

So when did you last look at your home first aid kit? Do you know what’s in it and how long it’s been in there?  Chances are, last time you did was when you hurt yourself doing DIY last year, when you used the last of the bandages to avoid dripping blood on the new carpet.

Take a moment or two out of your busy lives to check your first aid kit for plasters and bandages before you embark on another project. You never know when you might need it! If you’re not sure you’d know how to use the stuff then perhaps it’s time to refresh those skills.

Shopping Centre full of Customers

Should Companies give First Aid to their Customers?

It was reported by the BBC earlier this week that rail staff at First Capital Connect  (St Albans) failed to render first aid assistance to a passenger other than allowing another passenger to call for an ambulance.

The passenger that did go to the other person’s aid complained to First Capital Connect and received the following response that even if they had been trained in first aid “this is only offered to staff and not customers.”

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