Health and Medicine

First Aid and Poisons

What is the “ABCD” survey first responders use to evaluate an emergency?

  • “A” stands for airway. It is important to be certain the airway from the mouth or nose to the lungs is clear. The airway can be opened by tilting the head back and lifting the chin.
  • “B” stands for breathing. Be certain the person is breathing or perform rescue breathing (CPR) to ensure a supply of oxygen.
  • “C” stands for circulation. If a pulse cannot be found, then there is no blood circulating. Emergency personnel can attempt to get the heart to resume breathing by performing rhythmic chest thrusts (CPR). Adults require 15 chest compressions for every two rescue breaths. It also means to check for profuse bleeding which must be controlled.
  • “D” stands for disability. It involves checking for consciousness and the likelihood of spinal cord or neck injury.


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