How to perform CPR during a pandemic

person performing CPR

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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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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