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Emergency Response

Upon discovering a casualty think: D R A B
D = check for Danger
R = check for a Response
A = check Airway is clear and open
B = check if Breathing
Danger: This is very important as it is not beneficial for other casualties if you injure yourself helping one. Examples include falling glass, fire and traffic. If the casualty is in danger that requires them to be moved then do so, otherwise leave them where they are to protect from further spinal damage. If on a road then stop traffic before the casualty and get hazard warning lights on.
Response: This is the first thing to do with a casualty to check if they are conscious or not. To do this try shouting "can you hear me?" followed by a gentle moving of shoulders or pinch of the lobe of the ear. Even if there is no response a first aider should still tell the casualty and onlookers what they are doing.
Airway: It is important to check a casualty's airway is clear and open. To open airways place two fingers under the chin and a hand on the forehead. Then, tilt the head upwards. This simple action can and has saved lives.
Breathing: If a casualty is unresponsive you will need to check if they are breathing. To do this place your cheek a few inches above the casualty's mouth looking down at their chest. Feel for air, listen for sounds and watch the chest for breathing movements. If the casualty is breathing then place them in the recovery position (below).
Contact the Emergency Services on 999 (international = 112) or get another to do so. Provide all the information you have attained such as location and casualty's condition. Remember to give your own phone number too in case the mobile runs out of money etc.

The Recovery Position

If a casualty is breathing placing them in the recovery position is best while waiting on an ambulance. It prevents a casualty from choking on their vomit. Before commencing you should check the casualty for any sharp objects in their pockets using the back of your hands, verbalising what you are doing. The easiest way to remember how to place someone in the recovery position is the rhyme, "Please sir, slap my face, raise my knee and roll me over".
  1. Please Sir: Take the hand nearest you and place it palm up with the elbow bent at right angles.
  2. Slap my face: Take the other hand and place the back of it against the near side of the casualty's face. Hold it there.
  3. Raise my knee: Using your other hand, reach across to the far knee and raise it so their foot is on the ground.
  4. Roll me over: Slowly and carefully roll the casualty towards you so that their head comes to rest on the hand. Stabilise the position by putting the knee at right angles.


If a casualty is discovered who is not breathing then CPR should be done until the emergency services arrive. It is best to take turns when doing this as it is tiring.
  • Place one hand on the other and interlock your fingers.
  • Place the heel of your hand at the bottom of casualty's breast bone.
  • Using the force of your shoulders repeatedly push down 5-6cm at a rate of 90/min.
  • Count out loud each compression and every 30 stop and perform 2 resuscitation breaths.
  • To perform resuscitation breaths:
    • Pinch the casualty's nose.
    • Make a tight seal around their mouth with your lips.
    • Look down at their chest and breathe in allowing it to rise and fall twice.
  • Remember 30:2 until ambulance arrives.