Emergency Action Principles: These Will Maximize Your Efforts

First aid is often not nearly as complicated as most people think. Regardless, for all emergencies you should always follow these emergency action principles (EAPs).

1. Safety:

  • Survey the emergency scene to make sure there are no dangers. If you won't be able to help anyone if you end up getting hurt too.
  • If it is dangerous call for help, make the area safer, or move the person from danger.

2. Wake the Person:

  • Gently try to see if the injured person can respond. You can do this by calling out to him and gently tapping his shoulders.

3. 9-1-1/EMS:

  • If the person doesn't wake up (or if he is injured) you or someone else must call the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) immediately.

A. Airway:

  • Place the person on his back, carefully so as to not cause further injury.
  • Open the person's airway by tilting his head back and lifting his chin upwards. This will remove the tongue from blocking the airway. Keep the airway open.

B. Breathing:

  • Check for breathing by looking, listening, and feeling for air (10 seconds).
  • If the person is not breathing give him 2 breaths, allowing the air to come out in between.
  • If the air goes in then go to step "C".
  • If the air does not go in, re-position the head-tilt/chin-lift and try blowing again.
  • If the air still does not go in then;
    • Do chest compressions (just like CPR) to force the object out.
    • Then check the mouth to see if the object came out, take it out if you see it.
    • Do the head-tilt/chin-lift and try blowing in, even if you didn't get anything out.
    • If the air doesn't go in, reposition the head-tilt/chin-lift and try blowing in again.
    • If the air goes in then check for circulation, step C.
    • If the air still does not go in then do chest compressions, check the mouth, try blowing in - repeat this entire process until you get air in.

C. Circulation:

  • This step should only be done once you have an open airway and you are able to get air into the casualty's lungs.
  • Check for circulation by feeling for a pulse and by looking at the person's skin color, feeling the skin temperature, and by noticing any movement (10 seconds).
  • Start CPR if needed (compressions and breaths).
  • If there is circulation but no breathing then just do rescue breathing.
  • If there is circulation and breathing, then monitor and put the person in the recovery position until the paramedics arrive.

Compressions for CPR:

  • Adult: 15 compressions to 2 breaths, 4 cycles, reassess, continue if needed.
  • Child and Infant: 5 compressions to 1 breath, 20 cycles, reassess, continue if needed.

Conscious Choking;

  • Ask the person if they are choking.
  • Ask the person if you can help.
  • Step behind him and do abdominal thrusts (chest thrusts if the person is big or pregnant).
  • Continue until the food comes out or until the person becomes unconscious.
  • If the food comes out make him comfortable and activate 9-1-1 if needed.
  • If the person becomes unconscious;
    • Lay them down.
    • Activate 9-1-1.
    • Follow the ABC steps above.
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1 Comment

  1. It is not recommended to turn the casualty over to open the airway. It is usually easy to detect breathing with a face down casualty. It may cause additional injury by turning them unnecessarily. Turn them if you have failed to identify breathing in the position you have found them.

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