The DRAB Emergency Action Plan

Knowing how to assess an unresponsive victim is an important first aid skill. The DRAB mnemonic is an easy way to remember the initial steps to take when assessing a casualty.

Danger – make sure the scene is safe and find out what’s happened

Check that it is safe for you to help the victim. Do not put yourself at risk in any way.

If possible remove any danger from the casualty, or if not, can you safely move the victim from the danger?

Find out what’s happened – and make sure you are still safe.

Check how many people are involved. Can you cope with the situation?

Response – are they conscious?

Gently shake the shoulders and ask loudly ‘Are you alright?’

If there is no response, shout for help immediately, but do not leave the victim yet.

Airway – open the airway

Carefully open the airway by using ‘head tilt’ and ‘chin lift’:

Place your hand on the forehead and gently tilt the head back.

With your fingertips under the point of the casualty’s chin, lift the chin to open the

This action will move the tongue away from the back of the airway.

Breathing – check for normal breathing

Keeping the airway open, check to see if the breathing is normal. Take no more than 10
seconds to do this:

Look at the chest and abdomen for movement

Listen for the sounds of breathing (more than the occasional gasp)

Feel for air on your cheek or movement of the chest or abdomen

If the victim is breathing normally, carry out a secondary survey and place them in the
recovery position. The recovery position involves rolling the victim onto their side with their head tilted back. This will protect the airway from any obstruction (eg: tongue, vomiting).

If the victim is not breathing normally then call for emergency medical help & a defibrillator immediately and then start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

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