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As soon as you find out the patient is not breathing, call the emergency medical services. It is vital for rescuers to get help as quickly as possible when someone collapses or appears unconscious. If you have not called for help, delivering CPR without the EMS on the way will not help them. For every minute it takes for the AED to arrive, the persons chance of survival drops by 10%. Ensuring the EMS are on the way and effective CPR will increase the patient’s survival chances.

  • If you are not alone, get someone else to call 999 or 112 and start resuscitation straight away.
  • If you have a phone, call 999 or 112 put them on speakerphone and start resuscitation straight away.
  • If the patient is an adult or older child who has NOT drowned and you are alone without a phone, leave them to call the EMS and then come back and start resuscitation.

There are some differences if you are alone and dealing with a child or infant who is not breathing, or when dealing with a patient of any age who is not breathing because they have drowned. In these circumstances:

  • Starting resuscitation with five breaths, provide CPR for 1 minute and then go to call the EMS
  • The only exception to this rule is if you are treating a child or an infant with a know cardiac problem.  In this case, call the EMS immediately.

If you are dealing with an infant, it may be possible for you to go for help while carrying the infant and performing CPR.

  • When more than one rescuer is available, one or more of the rescuers should start resuscitation while another goes for assistance and tries to find an AED. 

Send someone to get an AED if available. Stay with the patient and continue with CPR until the EMS arrives an AED is available or you are simply too tired to continue. It is important to keep blood circulating don't leave the patient alone to go and look for an AED while you are waiting for the EMS to arrive.

You can get additional help on CPR by speaking to the dispatcher when you call the EMS. By having your phone on speaker phone, they can guide you through CPR as either full CPR or chest only compressions.