When to call for assistance

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2 min 42 sec
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As soon as you find out the patient is not breathing, call the emergency services. It's 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 EMS on the way will not help them. For every minute it takes for the AED to arrive, the person's chance of survival drops by 10%. Ensuring the EMS are on the way and effective CPR will increase the patient's chance of survival. When more than one rescuer is available, one rescuer should start resuscitation, while the other one goes for assistance and tries to find an AED.

With adults, if only one rescuer is present, go for assistance as soon as you find out they're not breathing and then start CPR. This is called the call-first approach. Don't go looking for an AED, the EMS will bring one. As you have been delivering CPR, the patient's chance of the AED restarting the heart will be increased. With children and infants and victims of drowning, if only one rescuer is present, undertake resuscitation for one minute and then go for assistance. This is called the call-fast approach. To minimise interruptions in CPR, it may be possible to carry an infant or a small child with you, while summoning help. The only exception to performing one minute of CPR before going for help is in the unlikely event that a child with a witnessed sudden collapse, when the rescuer is alone and primary cardiac arrest is suspected.

In this situation, a shockable rhythm is likely and the child may need defibrillation. Seek help immediately if there is no one to go for you. When you dial for the EMS, ask for an ambulance. If there is someone with you, ask them to call if possible, otherwise, call them yourself. Whilst they make the call, you can begin CPR. If you're alone, stay with the victim when making the call if possible. Activate the speaker function on your mobile phone to aid communication with the ambulance service. Send someone to get an AED if available. If you are on your own, do not leave the victim, start CPR, it is important to keep blood circulating and by leaving them to find an AED, their chance of survival is reduced. You can get additional help on CPR by speaking to the dispatcher when you call the EMS. By having your phone on speakerphone, they can guide you through the CPR process, whether it is full CPR or chest compressions only.