Effective resuscitation is dependent upon a number of different interventions happening within as short a time as possible. From the first moment when a bystander recognises and confirms a cardiac arrest right the way through until sophisticated management strategies are being considered in a specialist unit, the team's speed of response is of the utmost importance.

The members of the team are similar to a chain in that they are totally dependent on each other and if one link is not functioning, the chain breaks and team work fails. The 'Chain of Survival' therefore represents the combination of the individual components involved in the management of an emergency.

This idea of linking the basic resuscitation of first responders to the advanced life support may be seen as common sense. However, a great deal of time and money has been spent seeking to improve all aspects of the system and how those involved work together (Cummins et al. 1991).

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