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First aid: Dealing with Someone Who’s Unconscious 

If you come across an adult who is unconscious, find out if they’re breathing. If they are breathing, follow these steps:

  1. Open the airway by placing one hand on their forehead, two fingers under their chin, and tilting the head back gently. Then place them in the recovery position.
  1. If you suspect a spinal injury, keep their head and neck as still as possible.
  1. Call 999 or get someone to do it.

If they are not breathing, or if breathing stops, follow these steps:

  1. Call 999 or get someone to do it.
  1. Open the airway as explained above.
  1. Look for signs of breathing. Check if their chest is moving. Bend down and listen for breath escaping from their nose or mouth. See if you can feel any breath on your cheek. If there are no signs that the person is breathing, start CPR immediately.
  1. Push down in the centre of the chest to a depth of about 2 inches or 5 cms. Pump hard and fast 30 times at the rate of about 100 per minute, or faster than one per second. Think of the song “Stayin’ Alive” and push at the speed of the words “Ha, ha, ha, ha.”
  1. After 30 compressions, give 2 rescue breaths. With the head tilted back, pinch the person’s nose and cover their mouth with yours. Blow in for 1 full second until you see their chest rise.

Continue CPR using the 30 pumps to 2 breaths ratio until the person responds or help arrives. If they recover, stop CPR and put them in the recovery position.

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