When someone is unconscious, they are in a life-threatening condition. Their airway will be at rick of becoming blocked by their tongue or vomit, and if this happens, they will be unable to breathe.
Prompt action in such a situation is essential, and by applying simple first aid steps, you could save their life.
Firstly, are you or they in any further DANGER. Make sure that the area is safe for you to enter.
Then, check their RESPONSE. You can do this by asking them “Can you hear me?” and asking them to open their eyes. If they do not respond to you, tap them gently, but firmly on both shoulders. If the do not respond to you, SHOUT for HELP.
Kneel to the side of them, next to their chest. Then, with your hand nearest to their forehead, place this hand onto their forehead, and place your index finger and middle finger on your other hand under the tip of their chin. Then roll their head back with the hand you have on their forehead, whilst lifting the tip of their chin, with the two fingers on their chin. This will open their AIRWAY.
Now put your head over their nose and mouth, with your ear above their nose and mouth, so that you can listen for them breathing and feel them breathing on your cheek. Whilst doing this, look at their chest, to see if it rises and falls. Do this for ten seconds. They need to be breathing normally. If they are taking infrequent, or noisy gasps, you will need to perform CPR.
If you are happy that they are breathing normally, quickly check them over for any injuries. Check for lumps, bumps, or wet areas on their body, using the back of your hand. If you find any, this might signify an injury, and if so, you will need to roll them onto their injured side.
Once you have established whether they have any injuries, you are then going to roll them into the RECOVERY POSITION. This position will protect their airway, while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.
- Place their hand on the side nearest to you, at right angles to the body
- Get their hand from the side opposite you and place the back of that hand against their cheek, on the side nearest to you. You will need to hold this hand in place. So, if it is their left hand on their cheek, then use your left hand, by placing your palm on their palm. If it is their right hand on their cheek, then use your right hand
- Then with your other hand, lift their knee on the side furthest away from you, until their foot goes flat on the floor. Then place the hand that you lifted their knee with, on top of their knee, and pull their knee towards you, to roll them over
- Once they are on their side, bring the knee that you rolled them over with to right angles to the body
- Then check that they are still breathing normally
If no one has arrived to help you, you can then phone for an ambulance, bay calling 999 or 112. It is worth remembering that 112 is the European emergency telephone number, and by calling 112 from any country in Europe, you will get through to the emergency services operator.
You will then need to continue to monitor their breathing until the ambulance arrives, as they may stop breathing.
Note, that if your casualty is heavily pregnant, she should be rolled onto her left side.
Many people are concerned, when the situation may be that the casualty has suffered a neck or spinal injury. This often results in the casualty being left on their back and their airway becoming blocked. ALL unconscious casualties, who are unconscious for whatever reason, MUST be placed into the RECOVERY POSITION, to protect their AIRWAY. If their airway becomes blocked, they will not be able to breathe and will die.
Statistics show that 75% of people who die on the road, do not die from their injuries, but die from the fact that their airway is blocked. Section 283 of The Highway Code, states “…. You may remove the crash helmet of a motorcyclist if it is appropriate to do so”. If they are unconscious, their airway is at risk of becoming blocked by their tongue, or vomit. It is therefore appropriate to remove their helmet.
In such situations, to minimise the risk of any additional injury, you can roll them into the recovery position, by placing their hand on the side nearest to you carefully under their head, instead of putting their arm at right angles to their body. Then continue to place them into the recovery position, as detailed above.
Remember, no-one has ever been sued for administering first aid, and the worst thing you can do, is to do nothing.
If you would like some first aid training in relation to these and other conditions, please do not hesitate to contact Passion First Aid on 01452 446020, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to our website, www.passionfirstaid.co.uk