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Resuscitation is a skill every Australian should have — the life you save with this knowledge may be a loved one, and should an emergency situation arise, the precious minutes wasted before response can be a matter of life and death. These essential facts come from Royal Life Saving Society — Australia.

What is resuscitation?
Resuscitation is described by the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) as the preservation or restoration of life by the establishment and/or maintenance of airway, breathing and compressions and related emergency care. That is, resuscitation involves stimulating the heart and breathing air into the lungs.

Why should I learn resuscitation?
In most cases when an emergency occurs, a family member is the first on the scene. Having the skills to react in an emergency situation can mean the difference between life and death while you wait for emergency care to arrive.

What is DRABCD?
Resuscitation training follows the simple principles of:

  • Danger: Check for danger, to self, to bystanders, to victim, remove hazards
  • Response: Squeeze the victim's shoulder and shout, "Are you ok?", call for help
  • Airway: Check and clear. Check for 'signs of life'
  • Breathing: No 'signs of life', give two rescue breaths
  • Compression: No immediate 'signs of life', commence CPR
  • Defibrillation: Attach a defibrillator and follow the prompts

How will I know if someone has 'signs of life'?
If a person is unconscious, unresponsive, not breathing normally and not moving they have 'no signs of life' and CPR should be commenced immediately.

What does 'any attempt is better than no attempt' mean?
For aquatic incidents Royal Life Saving recommends two rescue breaths followed by 30 chest compressions (at a rate of 100 compressions per minute) and repeating the sequence. However if you feel unable or unwilling to do rescue breaths start with chest compressions as soon as possible and continue until help arrives.

Where can I learn resuscitation?
Royal Life Saving is one organisation that offers resuscitation courses to the public. Courses are approximately two to four hours long and your skills should be updated annually. However, you can also do a first aid course, which provides you with a range of skills for emergency situations. Contact your nearest Royal Life Saving office on 1300 737 763 to find out when courses are available.