Heartstart by Lauren Macfarlane

Heartstart aims to teach lifesaving skills such CPR, Recovery Position and Abdominal Thrusts.This lesson concentrates on the Recovery Position and CPR procedure which aims to restart the heart after a cardiac arrest.

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognise the difference between a conscious and unconscious casualty.

  • Assess a scene for danger.

  • Put a casualty in the Recovery Position.

  • Perform CPR procedure using a CPR dummy.

  • Confidently follow the DRS ABCD action plan.

Step by step

  1. All volunteers need to be seated in a semicircle with the instructor in front and in clear view.

  2. Start with a description of an emergency situation. You find a casualty lying on the floor who appears to be unconscious and you need to assist.

  3. Explain that you are going to be following the DRS ABCD action plan (see image).

  4. Show the Recovery Position. Divide group into pairs. Demonstrate the procedure with a volunteer. Each pair practices the procedure with the instructor monitoring their progress.

  • Kneel down beside the casualty.

  • Move the arm closest to you outwards, palm facing upwards.

  • Take the other hand and place it on their opposite cheek, palm facing outwards.

  • Bend the knee furthest away from you upwards.

  • Pull that knee towards you which will roll the casualty on their side.

  • Tilt their head up to open the airway.

  • Stay with the person until help arrives.

Go through the DRS ABCD action plan:

D = Danger

Check the surrounding area for danger and hazards to yourself, any bystanders and the casualty. These could be moving vehicles, falling masonry/glass, electricity, water etc

R = Response

Check the casualty is responsive. This can be done my asking if they can hear you and squeezing shoulders. If there is no response carry on with this guide.

S = Shout and send for help

Shout to alert attention from those nearby. Ask them to send for help and call 999. If there are passer-by’s have one stay with you to assist you. If you are by yourself do not leave the casualty, keep shouting for help.

A = Airway

Open the casualties mouth and check if there is anything blocking their airway. If there is anything easily removable clear the airway.

B = Breathing

Check the casualty is breathing by looking, listening and feeling. If they are breathing you can put them in the Recovery Position (Step 4). If the casualty is not breathing then carry on with this action plan.


This is to be performed on CPR dummies. Volunteers can work in pairs or small groups depending on how many dummies are available.

  • Remove clothing from upper body of casualty in real life situation.

  • Place locked hands (see pic for correct position) on upper chest/breast bone and begin 30 chest compressions. The speed of the compressions are around 2 per second. Hands are pushed down 5-6 centimetres into the chest. Perform 2 rescue breaths. Open the airway by tilting the head back and lifting the chin. Pinch the soft part of the casualty’s nose closed. Take a normal breath, make a seal around their mouth and breath out steadily. The chest should rise and fall.

  • Give a further breath. The 2 breaths should take no longer than 5 seconds.

  • Repeat 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths until the emergency services arrive.

  • Stop CPR if the casualty shows signs of regaining consciousness. If you begin to get tired get someone to take over. If there is a defibrillator available continue CPR until it is ready to use.

D = Defibrillator

If there is a defibrillator available continue CPR until it is ready to use. Turn on the machine and follow the instructions.