Safety and first aid

DRSABCD action plan

In an emergency call triple zero (000) for an ambulance



Ensure the area is safe for you, others and the patient.



Check for response: ask their name, squeeze their shoulders.

Woman squeezing shoulders of apparently unconscious man.

If there is a response:

  • make them comfortable
  • check for injuries
  • monitor their response.

If there is no response...


Send for help

Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance or ask another person to make the call.



Open patient’s mouth.

If foreign material is present:

  • place patient in recovery position
  • clear airway with fingers.

Open airway by tilting head with chin lift.

Woman clearing man’s mouth cavity with fingers.Woman tilting man’s head back using a finger and thumb grip on his chin (chin lift).



Check for breathing: look, listen and feel.

Woman placing her hand on a patient’s chest and placing her cheek over man’s mouth to check for signs of man breathing.

If the patient’s breathing is normal:

  • place patient in recovery position
  • monitor breathing
  • manage injuries
  • treat for shock.

If the patient’s breathing is not normal start CPR.



Start CPR: 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths.

Continue CPR until help arrives or patient recovers.

Woman performing chest compressions on a man’s chest.  Woman placing two fingers on an infant’s chest and pushing down to perform chest compressions.



Apply defibrillator (if available) and follow voice prompts.

Where to get help

  • For emergency or life-threatening conditions, visit an emergency department or dial triple zero (000) to call an ambulance.

This information provided by

Logo: St John Ambulance Australia


St John Ambulance Australia

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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