Basic Life Support Checklist -PDF Download Available

This checklist outlines the essential steps of BLS for adults in a simplified and organised manner. Refer to your full training materials and instructor for detailed explanations and proper technique.

  • Act Quickly: Early intervention significantly improves survival rates.
  • Scene Safety: Ensure it’s safe for yourself and others before approaching a person in distress.
  • Chain of Survival: Each step builds upon the previous one, forming a chain of actions that maximise survival chances.
cpr demonstration using manikin

  • Before approaching the person, assess the scene for potential dangers such as traffic, fire, or hazardous materials. If unsafe, remove yourself and others from harm’s way and call emergency services.

  • Call Emergency Services: Dial 999 (UK) or your local emergency number immediately and request an ambulance.
  • Tap or Shake the person: Gently tap or shake the person’s shoulder and shout loudly. Ask, “Are you alright?”

  • Open the Airway: If unresponsive, use a head-tilt chin-lift manoeuvre (or jaw thrust if necessary) to open the airway.
  • Check for Breathing: Look, listen, and feel for chest rise for no more than 10 seconds.

  • Chest Compressions:
    • Place the heel of your hand on the lower half of the sternum (breastbone).
    • Interlock your fingers and keep your arms straight.
    • Perform 30 high-quality chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute (BPM) for 15-18 seconds.
    • Aim for at least 5 cm (2 inches) of compression depth with complete chest recoil after each compression.
    • Use a metronome or mental counting (say “one and two and three…” at a rate of approximately two compressions per second) to maintain the correct rate.

  • Pinch the nose shut.
  • Create a seal with your mouth over the person’s mouth.
  • Deliver 2 breaths, each lasting 1 second, observing visible chest rise.

  • Continue cycles of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths.
  • Aim for less than 10 seconds between cycles to minimise interruptions in compressions.
  • Continue CPR until:
    • The person starts breathing normally.
    • An AED arrives.
    • You become exhausted and unable to continue effectively.
  • Power on the AED: Turn on the AED as soon as it arrives.
  • Follow AED prompts: Attach the AED pads according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clear the Patient: Say “Clear” and ensure everyone is clear of the patient when prompted by the AED for analysis and potential shock delivery.
  • Follow instructions: If a shock is indicated, the AED will guide you through delivering the shock safely.
  • Resume Compressions: After shock delivery (if applicable), say “Resume compressions” and instruct the instructor (or bystanders) to resume compressions immediately.
  • Continue CPR: Continue cycles of chest compressions and breaths (if using a barrier device) following AED prompts until help arrives or the person starts breathing normally.


  • This is a guide. Act quickly and confidently in a real emergency.
  • Practice CPR regularly to maintain proficiency.
  • Call emergency services immediately, even if you are unsure if the person needs help.

Additional Considerations:

  • Bleeding: If you encounter severe bleeding, apply direct pressure to the bleeding site with a clean cloth or clothing.
  • Choking: If the person is choking and unable to cough or speak, perform the Heimlich manoeuvre (if trained).

Basic life support is an important skill that can save lives. By following these steps and practicing regularly, you can be prepared to act in an emergency.

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