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The DRABC procedure or the primary survey will allow you to establish what level of first aid you need to administer and if you need to call the emergency services. First aiders split the primary survey into the steps D-R-A-B-C; you can remember this easily by remembering DR ABC.
DRABC stands for Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing and Circulation. As a First Aider, when you encounter a casualty, you need to do the initial DRABC procedure, otherwise known as the primary survey.
Before even thinking about administering any first aid, it is good to know what you are doing. As a calm and measured first aider, you need to think about the 3P’s.
First aid is all about:
Preserve life – you are preventing that person from losing their life.
Prevent further injury – you don’t want the casualty to become even more injured. Ensure that the casualty has a good supply of oxygen and in a safe position. Ideally, it would be best if you didn’t move the casualty. If you have no other option, make sure you move the casualty carefully.
Promote recovery – you need to take the appropriate steps to promote healing, whether applying bandages or cold compresses or putting them into the recovery position. Continue promoting recovery until the emergency help arrives.
On the first step of DRABC, you need to determine whether it is safe to approach the casualty and that yourself and anyone else isn’t in a position also to become a casualty. For example, this could be stopping any oncoming traffic, looking out for live electricity, looking out for any places you could fall or trip over.
Once you can confirm there is no potential danger, you can begin to assess the casualty.
Next, you need to get some response from the casualty so the casualty can tell you what is wrong with them. To do this, use the AVPU scale, which will help you scale the level of response from the casualty.
Now you need to investigate why the casualty is unresponsive by checking their airway. To do this, you need to place the casualty on their back and tilt their head back. Place your hand on the chin and forehead and lightly tip their head. With your fingertips on the chin of the casualty, lift their mouth open to open the airways.
When the airway is open, look out for any signs of normal breathing for 10 seconds, look out for if the casualty looks to be breathing abnormally, infrequently or not at all. Start applying CPR if you notice any of these symptoms.
If the casualty is unresponsive but is breathing normally and isn’t in a state where they can be moved without damaging them further, put them into the recovery position.
If you reach this point and the casualty isn’t breathing, you need to get someone to call 999, or if you are alone, put your phone on speakerphone and do it yourself. Never start CPR until someone has called the emergency services. If possible, get someone to go and get an AED while you speak to the emergency services and stay with the casualty alone.
Some people consider the defibrillation stage as its step in the DRABC procedure, therefore calling it DRABCD. Using a defibrillator is key to keeping someone alive, and you need to take it seriously as a step.
Please take a look at our step-by-step guide using an AED here.
3B Training offers a range of First Aid Courses. Each training course covers different aspects of first aid for different sizes and types of workplace.
Paediatric First Aid Training is for those who work with children and babies.
The DRS ABCD Action Plan in first aid involves seven key stages:
These steps are crucial in assessing and responding to a medical emergency and are often used as a basic guideline in first aid training.
DRABC is an acronym used in first aid, and it stands for:
The ABC approach is a fundamental framework used in healthcare, particularly in emergency situations, to quickly assess and address life-threatening issues. It helps healthcare providers prioritise their actions to ensure the patient’s critical needs are met promptly.
We cover this procedure in a range of First Aid Courses with 3B Training. Please take a look at our upcoming course dates here. To find out more about what happens on a first aid course, click here.
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