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First Aid: What to do in an emergency (DR’s ABC)

When an emergency or incident arises where there are casualties, think DR’s ABC:

Danger

Response

Shout

Airway

Breathing

Circulation

Danger

Check for signs of danger to you or the casualty, such as oncoming traffic, broken glass or fallen debris. Only approach them when it is safe or when you have made the area safe.

Response

Ask the person “Are you okay?” Ask them to open their eyes. If there’s no response, give them a gentle shake. For children, tap their shoulder. For babies, tap their foot. If they respond, treat them as conscious. If there is no response, move on to the next step.

Shout for help

Shout loud and clear to alert other people to what’s going on, and to get someone to call 999 while you deal with the casualty.

Airway

Make sure the person’s airway is kept open. Turn them onto their back and open the airway using the head tilt/chin lift method. Put your hand on their forehead and two fingers under their chin. Lift the chin and tilt the head back gently.

Breathing

Check for signs of breathing. Look for movement in the person’s chest. Listen for breathing sounds. Bend down to see if you can feel any breath on your cheek. If there are no signs of breathing, or if you’re not sure, call 999 or 112 and perform CPR. As soon as they start breathing again, place them in the recovery position until help arrives.

Circulation

If the person is bleeding, use clothing, towels or any clean material to stop it. Call 999 or 112 and stay with the person to monitor their breathing and responsiveness until help arrives.

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