The Chain of Survival is a way of helping First Aiders (that’s you, once you’ve taken your first aid training course) remember what to do and what needs to happen, in the correct order. In this chain, the more links you have in place, the better the person’s chance of survival. All your CPR training should help you achieve the first three links, whether it’s Childcare first aid, Infant CPR or Workplace first aid (OFA1) – or any other course.

The Chain of Survival

The Chain of Survival 1 – Early Access

The condition is recognised and emergency services are accessed as quickly as possible. This means you recognise the person needs help/CPR and you get the Emergency Medical Services as soon as possible. If you’ve found a collapsed adult, and they aren’t breathing, this means you do nothing else for them (at first, if you’re alone) other than get advanced help. It’s your first priority and increases the person’s chance of survival.

Early CPR

CPR (Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) is a ‘buying time’ activity which you’ll learn in every first aid class with us. As you’re doing CPR your aim is to keep the person in a ‘suitable’ state for…..

Early Defibrillation

For the most part, this is what the person needs to restart their heart. The defibrillator (AED) tries to stop their heart completely, in the hope that it will restart with its own, correct, rhythm.
These three steps are covered on your training course – all Canadian Red Cross First Aid courses include information and practice in the three ‘links of the chain’ described above. Done correctly they increase the person’s chance of survival by 90%
Now don’t get excited, that doesn’t mean 90% of people survive. You don’t get the Beach Babe or the Hot Hero waking up and owing their life to you. You’ve increased their chance from what it was without you…. and if you think about it:

  • No EMS/ambulance
  • And no CPR
  • With no AED

……their chance of survival without you was pretty low. Even a 100% improvement would still be ‘low’ at best. This research from 2009 will give you an idea of how the Chain of Survival increases… well…. survival.

Early ACLS

Advanced Cardiac Life Support is the last link in the chain. By following link 1, you’re doing your part to try to ensure link 4. The rest is down to the ambulance crew. Recent research suggests that the 4th link improves survival further than just the 1st three alone. Some commentators go as far as saying that Ambulance crews who spend too long at the scene of an event rather than rapidly transporting the person to advanced care may even decrease the survival rate.
Concentrate on the first three links, as taught in your course, and you’ll be giving the person the best chance of survival you can.