Hands-only CPR: Learn how to do CPR

Understanding hands-only CPR: A lifesaving skill everyone should know

In critical moments when every second counts, hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) stands as a vital lifeline. In this blog, Rose delves into the significance of hands-on CPR, a straightforward technique that dramatically enhances survival rates in cardiac emergencies.

Key facts and statistics

The British Heart Foundation highlights that the UK witnesses over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) annually, yet survival rates linger below 10%. Implementing immediate CPR has been shown to potentially triple survival rates, yet bystander CPR is not universally performed.

Key Definitions

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) - An emergency procedure performed in situations where breathing or heartbeat has stopped, which can include heart attack or near-drowning incidents.
  • Hands-only CPR - CPR that involves only chest compressions without rescue breaths, aimed at maintaining vital blood flow to the heart and brain until more advanced care is available.

Relevant legislation, regulations and best practices

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 mandate that UK employers ensure adequate first-aid provision, including necessary equipment, facilities, and trained personnel, to handle incidents like sudden cardiac arrests effectively.

According to the Resuscitation Council (UK), hands-only CPR is recommended for the public in cases where a bystander is not trained to perform full CPR with rescue breaths. Their guidelines stress the effectiveness of continuous chest compressions at a depth of 5-6 cm and a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.

Why hands-only CPR?

Hands-only CPR is advocated for its simplicity and effectiveness. It encourages more bystanders to take action without the hesitation associated with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It's particularly crucial in the initial minutes following a cardiac arrest, when quick action can sustain life until professional help arrives.

How to perform hands-only CPR

  • Safety first - Check that the environment is safe for you and the victim.
  • Check for response - Gently shake the victim and shout to ascertain responsiveness.
  • Call for help - Immediately dial 999 to alert emergency services.
  • Position your hands - Place one hand on top of the other in the centre of the chest and interlock your fingers.
  • Press hard and fast - Deliver chest compressions deeply and at a recommended pace, ensuring not to interrupt until emergency services take over.


Encouraging widespread CPR knowledge is essential. Businesses, educational institutions, and community groups should facilitate regular CPR training sessions, backed by resources from authoritative bodies like the Health and Safety Executive and the Resuscitation Council (UK).


Hands-only CPR is more than just a technique; it is a beacon of hope and preparedness that can save lives in unexpected situations. By fostering a society equipped and ready to respond effectively to cardiac emergencies, we enhance our collective resilience and ability to care for one another in need.

Through understanding and training in hands-only CPR, we not only increase survival rates but also reinforce a culture of prompt and effective response in emergencies.

Step forward and make a difference in an emergency. Click here to explore our comprehensive CPR training courses. Learn hands-only CPR, be prepared to save lives, and become a key player in your community's safety network.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Understanding hands-only CPR: A lifesaving skill everyone should know - ComplyPlus LMS™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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