With the recent release of the HLTAID first aid units there has been some talk over the requirement for candidates to perform uninterrupted CPR for a period of four minutes and eight minutes (dependant on unit) at floor level.

We have been asked by some members if the four minutes includes checking danger, assessing response, checking and clearing airway, assessing for normal breathing and handing over to another person? The simple answer is no.

The intent of “four minutes uninterrupted” and “eight minutes uninterrupted” is for each candidate to demonstrate a sustained duration of compressions and rescue breathing.

In addition, the candidate needs to demonstrate the specific items listed below the dot point such as checking for response, correct hand placement and handover to another rescuer.

This information has been sourced from the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council – First Aid Guide Companion Volume (Release 1.0)

ARC guidelines encourage rescuers to change every two minutes – if possible. The “four minutes uninterrupted” and “eight minutes uninterrupted” enables a trainer to assess that the candidate has appropriate strength and stamina to provide effective CPR in an emergency. It relates to the volume and frequency of evidence required by assessors to make the assessment decision i.e. sufficiency.

“Four minutes uninterrupted” should not be interpreted as a new ARC guideline. As vocational competencies, the first aid competencies provide assurance to employers that employees with duty of care to provide first aid in the workplace have the appropriate skills and knowledge to carry out this duty, particularly in instances where the worker might not be able to be relieved within two minutes.

Due to the potential risk to health and safety where a nominated first aider, or worker with duty of care, does not have the ability to perform resuscitation and/or first aid to the performance standard it is not appropriate to issue a statement of attainment to students who are physically unable to meet the assessment requirements.

In cases where a student has attended a resuscitation or first aid course but is unable to meet the full requirements of the competency, an RTO may wish to provide that student  with a certificate of attendance, or similar, as an indication of their participation in the course.