We have all heard that famous Bee Gee’s song, “Staying Alive” that hit the music charts back in
1977. It was featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever, played countless times on the radio and
has recently been featured in TV shows and commercials such as Grey’s Anatomy and The
Office. It has become synonymous with the rhythm that lay rescuers would use when performing
continuous cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The song has close to 104 beats per minute, and 100-120 chest compressions per minute are recommended by Red Cross and 2016 Canadian
Consensus Guidelines on First Aid and CPR.
CPR is easy to learn and if started within the first two minutes of a person suddenly collapsing and becoming unresponsive, it can save lives.
Compression only CPR is acceptable if a bystander is unwilling, uncertain, or unable to perform “full CPR.” Full CPR, which is a cycle of 30 chest compressions to two rescue breaths, is still important to learn. While it may seem overwhelming or confusing, Compression-Only CPR is really just a few basic steps.
Quick Tips on the 2016 New Standards Compression-Only CPR:
1. Recognize the emergency. Check the Scene first, and if it is safe to do so, check the Person.
If the person is unresponsive and not breathing, have someone call EMS-911 and get an
AED (automated external defibrillator)
2. Position your locked hands, one stacked on top of the other, knuckles up, at the centre of the
3. Push steadily and deeply into the person’s chest (depth compression of at least 5cm on an
adult and one third the anteroposterior diameter of the chest in children or infants (under the
age of eight)
4. Push deeply and steadily, allowing the chest to recoil in between compressions
5. Maintain continuous compressions until a higher medical authority arrives, another trained
first aider takes over, the AED is in “analyze” or “shock” mode, the scene becomes unsafe,
or, there are obvious signs of life
Key Points for Children and Infants:
1. If the lay rescuer is alone, it is recommended that they perform a two-minute cycle of CPR
first before activating EMS 911. If they are not within reach of assistance or a phone, and it
is safe to do so, take the child with you, to activate EMS-911. If you cannot take the child
with you, activate EMS 911 and immediately return to the child or infant and continue care
2. Two-handed compressions are not recommended for babies (under 12 months). The lay
rescuer should use two fingers in the centre of the baby’s chest, just below the nipple line.
Push deeply and steadily, allowing the chest to recoil in between compressions. If performing
CPR on a child (ages 12 months or 1 years to approximately 8 years of age) the lay rescuer
may do one-handed CPR depending on the age or size of the child
Once the AED arrives, attach the pads to a bare, dry chest, as shown in the photos on the pads, turn the machine on and follow the prompts. If you don’t have an AED, just sing the song Staying Alive until Emergency Services arrive. To review your skills, visit any Red Cross CPR class and update your hands-on skills to ensure confidence in an emergency situation.