Basic First Aid Advice

The correct administering of first aid can prove invaluable in unpredictable emergency situations involving accidents or sudden illnesses. Listed below is the correct advice to follow if you find yourself in such a difficult position - Remember though, nothing can replace attending a first aid course delivered by qualified and experienced instructors - Remember First Aid Works® .

The overall aims of first aid can be considered as:

Preserve Life- that means yours, the casualty and any bystanders.
Prevent the condition / situation from getting any worse.
Promote recovery.


A methodical assessment of the scene and the casualty is required to spot life threatening conditions quickly. In an emergency situation follow the list below.

D -Danger- check for dangers to the casualty and to you as a first aider
R -Response- if safe to approach, is the casualty conscious?
A -Airway- is the casualty’s airway open and clear?
B -Breathing- is the casualty breathing effectively?

Let’s now consider this list in more detail.


If there are dangers present can you safely remove the danger from the casualty? If not can you safely remove the casualty from the danger? If not then stay clear and get professional assistance. Remember one of the aims of first aid is to prevent a situation from getting any worse!


If it is safe for you to approach a casualty then you need to check the casualty’s level of response, do this by using the AVPU Scale?

A - ALERT- is the casualty alert?
V - VOICE- does the casualty respond to your voice? Ask them questions!
P - PAIN- touch the casualty responds to a painful stimuli or a gentle shake?
U - UNRESPONSIVE- if the casualty does not respond to pain, then they are   unresponsive


If the casualty is unresponsive and you are on your own, then shout for help but don’t leave the casualty just yet. An unresponsive casualty is in great danger of having a blocked airway which will deprive the brain of vital oxygen. You will need to ensure an open airway.

Unless you can assess the casualty in the position you find them, turn the casualty onto their back - Place one hand on his forehead, and with two fingers from your other hand place them under the casualty’s chin.
Gently tilt the head back and slightly raise the chin further upwards (Head Tilt - Chin Lift)
Remove any obvious obstructions from the casualty’s mouth, leaving well fitting dentures in place - Do not put your fingers in the casualty’s mouth unless you can see that there is a foreign object to be removed!

If you suspect a spinal injury watch the chest as you gently open the airway - When you see "Good" chest rise then stop as you have opened it enough to inflate their lungs!


With the airway now open and clear you will need to check that the casualty is breathing. There are three ways to determine if the casualty is breathing or not.

LOOK - for chest movement.
LISTEN - at the casualty’s mouth for sounds of breathing
FEEL - for exhaled air on your cheek.

Allow yourself no longer than 10 seconds to determine if the casualty has Normal Breathing or not. If the casualty is breathing normally - Then conduct a Secondary Survey


The Secondary Survey is very quick "Head to Toe" check of the casualty's body to identify any obvious injury - DOMS.

D - Deformities
O - Open Wounds
M - Medic Alert Tags
S - Swellings

Once you have checked and dealt with any injuries place them in the Recovery Position and get help - Call 999 and ask for the Ambulance.


An unconscious casualty who is breathing is still at risk from an obstructed airway. You will need to place the casualty in a safe position, this is known as the Recovery Position, and here is how it’s done-

If the casualty is wearing spectacles, remove them to a place of safety.
Kneel beside the casualty making sure their legs are straight.
Place the arm nearest to you at right angles to their body, palm uppermost
Bring the arm furthest from you across the chest; hold the back of the casualty’s hand against their nearest cheek
With your other hand grasp the thigh furthest from you and pull up the knee, keeping the foot flat on the ground.
Gently pull down on the raised knee rolling the casualty over towards you
Adjust the upper leg, so the hip and knee are both bent at right angles to prevent the casualty from rolling back onto their face
Tilt the head back to ensure the airway is open and keep re-checking for Normal Breathing at regular intervals.

An unconscious casualty who is breathing normally will exhibit signs of a circulation. An unconscious casualty who is not breathing or has Abnormal Breathing will need to be Resuscitated. this is known as Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. or CPR for short.


When the circulation stops, the breathing also stops. The casualty will require a combination of Chest Compressions and Mouth to Moth . This combination of basic life support is known as CPR, and here is how to do it -

A soon as you have established there is No Breathing or Abnormal Breathing -

1. You are on your own, then- Leave the casualty immediately and call for an ambulance 999 and request an AED

2. You are not alone, then- Send someone to ring for an ambulance whilst you start CPR - Remember to ask the helper to return and let you now that the call has been made!

When you return -

Give 30 Chest compressions - Place the casualty on their back and kneel beside them. Place the heel of your hand on top of the other and interlock your fingers. Place these on the middle or the centre of the casualty's chest. With your elbows straight, bring your shoulders up and depress and release the breastbone to a depth of about 5 to 6cm.

Chest compressions should be given at the rate of 100 to 120 per minute!

Now give 2 Breaths - Ensure that the airway is open and pinch the nose closed.
Slightly lift the chin upwards with two fingers from your free hand

Take a deep breath, seal your mouth completely around the casualty’s mouth and breathe in for about 1 second

Observe the chest rising and falling.

Lift your head away from the casualty, take another deep breath. Seal your mouth around the casualty’s mouth and breathe into the casualty as before.

Having delivered 2 Effective Breaths Give another 30 Chest Compressions and continue giving 30 Chest Compressions to 2 Breaths. Only stop CPR if qualified help arrives, the casualty starts to breath or move (this is highly unlikely without advanced life support techniques) or if you are too exhausted to carry on!

Please contact us for more information on any of the first aid or paediatric first aid courses offered by First Aid Works® 


First Aid or Paediatric First Aid Courses in Birmingham, South London or Euston, Central London for individuals. First Aid and Paediatric First Aid Courses nationwide for groups.