How to respond in an emergency situation

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
How you respond to an emergency is extremely important in helping someone to recover and in preventing permanent disability.

The two most important things you can do that will make a difference in an emergency situation is offer care for life-threatening problems, and call emergency personnel as quickly as possible.

It can be a frightening experience when you are faced with someone who has been injured in an accident, or when you have to deal with someone who suddenly becomes ill. When you help a casualty you must act calmly and with confidence and follow a clear plan to ensure that you are effectively managing the situation.

St John Ambulance recommends the DR ABC action plan for first aid management. DRABC stands for:

  • Danger
  • Response
  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation

The plan is a vital aid in assessing if the injured or ill person has any life-threatening conditions and if any immediate first aid is necessary.

The DRABC Action Plan
D — check for DANGER — to you — to others — to the casualty

  • Make sure that no one else gets hurt. You will not be able to help if you are also a casualty.
  • Only proceed if it is safe to do so.

R — check for RESPONSE — is the casualty conscious?

  • Gently shake the casualty and ask: "Can you hear me?" and "What is your name?"
  • If the casualty is conscious check for and manage bleeding and other injuries.
  • If the casualty is unconscious they should be turned on their side.

A — clear and open the AIRWAY; B — check BREATHING

  • If the casualty is breathing ensure that they are in a stable position on their side, manage shock, control breathing and other injuries.
  • If the casualty is not breathing start Expired Air Resuscitation - EAR (mouth to mouth).

C — check CIRCULATION — feel the pulse at the neck.

  • If pulse is present continue EAR.
  • If there is no pulse commence CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).
  • Seek medical aid

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