Danger needs to be dealt with, first and foremost. Anything that poses a threat to you, the victim, or bystanders with danger — moving vehicles, sharp objects, live wires, overflowing liquids, dangerous animals and people. Make sure no one is in the path of these hazards. If more victims were to be added, yourself included, First Aid quickly becomes unmanageable.
Find out if the victim is conscious or not by seeking a response. Squeeze their hand and ask them to squeeze yours in return. Ask: “Can you hear me? Open your eyes. What’s your name?”
Waste no time calling for help — in the form of emergency services or an ambulance — or asking someone else in the vicinity to call on your behalf.
Check that the victim’s airways are clear, that their breathing is not restricted. You might need to carefully roll the person onto their side — their spine, neck and head aligned. Clear any obstructions you find from their mouth.
Check that the person is breathing. Look for chest movement, place your hand on their lower chest area to feel for movement, listen for breathing by placing your ear close to their nose and mouth. If they are breathing, continue to monitor respirations until paramedics arrive.
When a victim is unconscious and not breathing, CPR should be performed straight away. With the victim on their back, place the heel of your hand on the centre of their chest, your other hand across the top of it. Press down firmly— to about a third the depth of their chest. Repeat 30 times. If you’re comfortable with mouth-to-mouth, pinch their nose and place your mouth over theirs to administer 2 breaths. If not, stick to compressions — breaths are optional. Continue CPR until the victim responds or paramedics arrive to take over.
If the victim is still unconscious and not breathing, a defibrillator or AED (automated external defibrillator) is the next step. There may be an AED located somewhere close by. If not, when they arrive, the paramedics will have one.
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