Facing situation where somebody has collapsed is frightening, particularly if it is somebody you know. However, there are some very simple steps that you can take to help you decide the best course of action, which in an emergency could mean the difference between life and death.
CHECK THE SCENE
Is it safe for you to approach the person who collapsed? Do not become a victim yourself. Check for dangers such as chemicals, electricity, or traffic.
If you can safely remove the danger, do so. If not, consider if you can safely and easily move the person from danger, or whether you need to call for additional help such as the fire service.
CHECK THE RESPONSE
Is the person who has collapsed conscious?
• Gently squeeze the shoulders and ask loudly, “Are you all right?”
• Speak loudly and clearly.
• Always assume there may be a neck injury and squeeze gently.
The most important rule of first aid is never to put yourself in danger. Do not rush to the scene; look around you to assess potential dangers. If in doubt, stay back.
For babies and young children
Do not squeeze the shoulders--- try to provoke a response by stroking the cheek or the sole of the foot and speaking loudly.
IF THERE IS NO RESPONSE
If there is no response, the immediate danger is that the victim might be unconscious and may have a blocked airway or be in need of resuscitation.
• Shout for help.
• If possible, leave the victim in the position in which you found him and open the airway.
• When it is not possible to carry out an assessment of the victim in the position found, turn him onto his back and open the airway.
OPEN THE AIRWAY
• Place one hand on the forehead and gently tilt the head back.
• Remove any obvious obstructions from the victim’s mouth, including dislodged dentures, but leave well-fitting dentures in place.
• Place the fingertips of two fingers under the point of the victim’s chin and lift the chin. If injury to the neck is suspected, handle the head very gently and try to avoid tilting the head too much.
For a baby, use only one finger to lift the chin and take particular care not to over tilt the head.
CHECK FOR BREATHING
Once the airway is open, the next priority is to check whether or not the person is breathing. Keep the airway open with one hand on the forehead and one hand lifting the chin. Put your cheek to the victim’s face and look down the chest.
• LOOK for the movement of the chest and stomach.
• LISTEN for breath sounds.
• FEEL for breathing on the side of your face.
If the victim is breathing, turn into the recovery position.
If the victim is not breathing
• Call 911 for emergency help.
If you have not already done so, make sure that an ambulance has been called.
• Start resuscitation.
Airway Ensure a clear airway. Breathing Check breathing and provide rescue breathing to the non-breathing person.
Circulation Check that the person has a good circulation and help them if their circulation has stopped or is damaged.