by Cynthia Vansant

Cynthia Vansant is a graphic designer and graduate student in Educational Technology. She enjoys hiking, camping and mountain biking and can't wait to do those things again after graduation!

Instructional Objectives

The learners will be able to properly sequence the procedural steps for a professional rescuer.
The learners will be able to answer specific questions about each procedural step.
The learners will be able to differentiate between infant, child and adult emergency care.


The learners are students in the American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer course. The American Red Cross does not have any age requirements for this course. However, learners must be able to read.

CPR for the Professional Rescuer is designed to be completed in nine hours. These nine hours are usually taught in two or more sessions, therefore, a comprehensive review prior to the final exam is necessary. RESCUE ME! is designed to be played in lieu of a verbal review session.


CPR for the Professional Rescuer is a long and intense course that requires learners to digest large amounts of information. There are many steps involved in each rescue procedure and learners find it difficult to keep them straight. RESCUE ME! is designed to help learners memorize these steps through repetition and visualization. A game is an appropriate format because learners enjoy themselves while reviewing the information they just learned. RESCUE ME! allows learners to interact with one another and move about the room. It gives learners the release and the review they need before the exam.


Each deck accommodates two to eight players. If the class consists of twelve learners (the maximum for one instructor), two games can be played using one deck for each game.

To begin the game, players sit in a circle on the floor. There must be ample floor space available. The object of the game is for the player to rid himself of all cards in his hand. The first person to do so is the winner. The game is played in the following manner:

  1. Each player is dealt 7 cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in front of the dealer to form a draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is turned over and placed in the center of the circle. This card marks the first link in the beginning of the RESCUE ME! chain.

  2. Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer. This first player places a card, called a link, next to the first card. This card must show either the next or previous step the rescuer takes to help his or her victim. For example, if the card is placed on top of or to the left of the first card, it must be the previous step in the chain of events. If the card is placed below or to the right of the first card, it must be the next step in the chain of events. This card then becomes a second link in the RESCUE ME! chain.

    If the player does not have the appropriate link (card) or a wild card, she must pick two cards from the draw pile. If she can play what is drawn, great. Otherwise, play moves to the next person.

    The illustrations above show proper (left) and improper (right) linking. The illustration on the right shows improper linking because two chains cannot be adjacent to one another unless all cards fit the sequence in every direction.

  3. Now, here's the twist. The only way a player can place a link in the RESCUE ME! chain is by answering the question on the card correctly. If the player does not answer correctly, the card is left in the chain, but the player must draw four cards. Players discuss the right answer and play moves on. If players are unsure of the correct answer, they can refer to the job aid included in the game's instructions.

  4. Play continues in a clockwise direction. Once a player has no cards left, the game is over.


Players can form teams of two and place links in the chain from either hand.

Card Design

Each card represents one step in a rescue procedure. There is an illustration as well as text identifying the procedural step. The text is readable from the top or the bottom in order for players to view the card from many directions. Under the identification text is one or two questions in capital letters. This is the question the player must answer before placing another link in the chain.

There is one card in the deck that differs from all the others. This is the WILD CARD. If a player places this card in the chain, she doesn't have to answer a question, but she must state what step it is representing.

Deck Design

The desk consists of 116 cards. The breakdown is as follows:

(10) Check for Consciousness/HOW?/YES OR NO?

(10) Open Airway/HOW?

(10) Check for Breathing/HOW LONG?/YES OR NO?

(10) Give 2 Breaths/HOW?/DID THEY GO IN?

(08) Check Brachial Pulse/HOW LONG?/YES OR NO?
(08) Check Carotid Pulse/HOW LONG?/YES OR NO?

(05) Give Adult Rescue Breathing/HOW MANY BREATHS AND HOW OFTEN?
(05) Give Child Rescue Breathing/HOW MANY BREATHS AND HOW OFTEN?
(05) Give Infant Rescue Breathing/HOW MANY BREATHS AND HOW OFTEN?

(05) Give Adult Abdominal Thrusts/HOW MANY?
(05) Give Child Abdominal Thrusts/HOW MANY?
(05) Give Infant Back Blows/Chest Thrusts/HOW MANY?



There are many times a player cannot anticipate what card he needs until the player before him places his card into the chain. For example, if a player places CHECK CAROTID PULSE and states there is no pulse, the next step is to give adult or child CPR. However, if he places CHECK BRACHIAL PULSE and states there is a pulse, the next step would be to give infant rescue breathing.

Design Process

I started by trying to create a game structure similar to Bridge or Whist, but it was too difficult to rank the steps of the procedure. At first, I made the later procedural steps rank higher. But, in reality, those steps are not as crucial to saving a life as earlier steps, such as checking for pulse or breathing. Therefore, the rules went against what the players had just learned.

RESCUE ME! has some attributes from the game UNO. However, in determining game design, I wanted players to be able to view more than one procedure at a time. Therefore, building various procedural chains in one game was necessary. Since all CPR for the Professional Rescuer classes require space for skills testing, this wasn't a problem.

In the game of UNO, players can mess up the next player by placing a Draw card of some sort onto the discard pile. RESCUE ME! is similar in that the players can state the victim's vital signs and the next card is dependent upon that condition.


The American Red Cross (1993). CPR for the professional rescuer. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Lifeline.

Last updated by Cynthia Vansant on October 8, 1995.

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Educational Technology 670, Fall 1995.