The immediate response to cardiac arrest is regarded as the most time-critical intervention. First responders for cardiac arrests in imaging departments are often radiology staff. The study aim was to determine radiology staff members' confidence in initiating basic life support. The objectives of this study included determining the general confidence levels regarding identifying cardiac arrest and initiation of basic life support (BLS) amongst Radiology staff within the studied sites, as well as to identify potential areas of uncertainty. Another objective included identifying what would contribute to increasing levels of confidence and competence in identifying cardiac arrest and initiating BLS. A multi-centre cross-sectional survey was conducted using peer-validated, anonymous questionnaires. Questionnaires were distributed to radiology staff working in public sector hospitals within the Cape Town Metropole West. Due to the limited subject pool, a convenience sample was collected. Data were therefore statistically analysed using only summary statistics (mean, standard deviation, proportions, and so on), and detailed comparisons were not made. We disseminated 200 questionnaires, and 74 were completed (37%). There were no incomplete questionnaires or exclusions from the final sample. Using a 10-point Likert scale, the mean ability to recognise cardiac arrest was 6.45 (SD ± 2.7), securing an airway 4.86 (SD ± 2.9), and providing rescue breaths and initiating cardiac compressions 6.14 (SD ± 2.9). Only two (2.7%) of the participants had completed a basic life support course in the past year; 11 (14.8%) had never completed any basic life support course and 28 (37.8%) had never completed any life support or critical care course. Radiologists, radiology trainees and nurses had the greatest confidence in providing rescue breaths and initiating cardiac compressions from all the groups. The study demonstrated a substantial lack of confidence in providing basic life support in the participating hospital imaging departments' staff. The participants indicated that regular training and improved support systems would increase confidence levels and improve skills. © 2019. The Authors.