First-aid to help in an accident or emergency

Posted: Mar 10 2023

In the situation of an accident or emergency, being familiar with a first-aid action plan can be life-saving. We’ve worked with St John Ambulance SA to bring you what you need to know.

First-aid action plan: DRS ABCD

D – Danger
First, ensure the environment you’re in is safe, and remove any hazards. Check by looking around, listen for any danger and notice any unusual smells. Do not proceed unless it is safe to do so.

R - Response
Assess the casualty’s response level by calling out to them by name if you know it, or making noise like clapping your hands. Touch the casualty by tapping them on the shoulder. If the casualty hasn’t responded, firmly squeeze the top of their shoulders to see if they respond to pain. If the casualty is unresponsive, call for an ambulance.

S – Send
Send for help by calling 000 and place your phone on loudspeaker. Provide as much information as possible to the operator and answer any questions.

A – Airway
When a person is unconscious, all their muscles relax, including the tongue which can block their airway. It’s important to check the casualty’s mouth for any obstruction and if you can see any, remove it by placing them in the recovery position (lying on their side with the top leg bent, and bottom arm out) and carefully scooping it out of their mouth. Once you are sure their mouth is clear, open their airway by tilting their head back and supporting the jaw.

B - Breathing
Check to see if the casualty is breathing by placing your ear near the casualty’s mouth to listen for breathing, looking down the chest wall for a rise and fall, and feeling the ribs for movement. Check for 10 seconds, an adult should take 2-3 breaths in this time. If the casualty is breathing normally, move them into the recovery position. If they are not breathing or not breathing normally, prepare to deliver CPR and retrieve an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if available.

Start CPR: 30 compressions to 2 breaths. Place the palm of your hands in the centre of the casualty’s chest, lock elbows straight and lean forward so your shoulders are in line with your hands. Press down firmly, compressing the chest to 1/3 depth. Release the chest and allow it to decompress fully. Repeat at a speed of 100-120 beats per minute. Perform 30 compressions, then deliver 2 breaths. To deliver the breaths, seal your mouth over the casualty’s mouth, pinch their nostrils closed and breathe steadily until their chest rises. Move back until their chest deflates and repeat. Continue compressions and breaths.

D – Defibrillation
If available, bring an AED to the casualty. Continue CPR while it is set up and applied. Turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts. Ensure the casualty’s chest is clear of clothing, jewellery, moisture and excess body hair. The AED may have scissors and a razor to assist with this. Place pads according to the pictures on the pads, and stand clear of casualty when directed. Allow the AED to assess their heart rhythm and deliver the shock as required. Continue CPR until the casualty recovers, help arrives, or you are physically unable to continue. Leave the AED on and connected, as it will reassess every 2 minutes. If bystanders are available, share the workload if they can assist with performing CPR.

15% off first-aid training with St John SA

Members get 15% off select St John SA public first-aid training courses.

Learn more

Posted: Mar 10 2023


The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

© Copyright Health Partners. 2024 All Rights Reserved.

Health Partners is committed to providing quality and affordable health care, and we value our members and our obligation to protect your privacy. As part of our responsibility in protecting your privacy, from time to time we review our policies to ensure we are meeting our obligations. We have recently made some updates to our Privacy Policy. Please click here to view the Health Partners Privacy Policy.

Contact Us

1300 113 113 Sat 9am - 1pm

Send us a message

Contact options and opening hours

View all