The Primary Survey

Regardless of the situation, a methodical approach based on the priorities of first aid establishes the safety of all concerned and the correct treatment to be given to the casualty. This response plan to any emergency is summarised with the letters D.R.S.A.B.C.D.

This basic response plan is also referred to as the Primary Survey and is designed to detect any life-threatening conditions that require immediate attention.

Signs of life are indications displayed by casualties that are alive. Generally, if the casualty has NO signs of life, they would be:

  • Unconscious
  • Unresponsive to verbal and painful stimuli
  • Showing NO purposeful movement
  • NOT breathing regularly

Objectives of Resuscitation

To work efficiently, the human brain requires a constant supply of oxygen. A person who has stopped breathing may start to suffer irreversible brain damage within 3 – 4 minutes.

It is with this in mind, that a first aider aims to provide basic life support to the casualty by supporting circulation and administering an adequate supply of oxygen to the casualty until signs of life return or until professional medical assistance arrives, and takes over treatment.