How to perform CPR during a pandemic

CPR Pandemic

It’s no surprise that people are reluctant to perform CPR and first aid during this uncertain time of COVID-19, what with the constant reminders to stay away from each other and wear face masks to prevent the spread.

However, it’s still possible to perform first aid safely without putting yourself at risk – which is the number one rule of first aid anyway.

What to do in an emergency

Regardless of the pandemic, if someone is in need of assistance, the DRSABCD principle still applies:

D – Danger

R – Response

S – Send for help

A – Airways

B – Breathing

C – Start CPR

D – Defibrillation

The only change comes with the final two steps – CPR and Defibrillation.


Once you’ve laid the patient on their back, opened their airways and determined they are not breathing:

  1. Commence chest compressions but do not perform rescue breaths if you are concerned the patient may have COVID 19
  1. Continue until an ambulance or AED (Automated External Defibrillator) arrives


A defibrillator has always been an essential part of first aid and CPR, but even more so during a pandemic since you can’t perform all of the required actions.

In Australia, the survival rate of cardiac arrest without a defibrillator is 6-10%. However, when a defibrillator is used within 5 minutes that survival rate goes up to 70-80%.

If you haven’t used a defibrillator before, remember that the machine will guide you through the process and tell you what to do at every step. So simply remain calm and follow the instructions.

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About Vital First Aid

Vital First Aid is a dynamic Registered Training Organisation specialising in providing accredited practical training in all facets of first aid and pre-hospital care.

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The venues we use especially in the Sydney region are clubs, as such, they have the right to set their own restrictions around who can and cannot enter the facility. These restrictions are totally out of our control and not always in line with Health Guidelines. We recommend you contact the venue you are booked to attend the day before the course and check that you are not restricted based on your individual situation. We can transfer your registration free of charge (if due to COVID venue restriction)  only if we are notified the day before a course. Normal cancellation policies will apply if we are not contacted prior to the event.

We are taking all required steps to ensure everyone’s safety including removing tables, no breaths required when doing CPR, ample cleansing wipes, refusal of attendance for any participants presenting with flu or cold symptoms, or those that should be self-isolating. 

Our standing request for unwell students: If you are unwell with any type of “cold or flu” we will NOT ALLOW YOU TO ENTER THE COURSE.

Face masks are not mandatory but we recognize you may choose to wear a mask when visiting our venues Covid 19 update