Do you know your DRSABCD?

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Do you know what the acronym DRSABCD stands for?

If you have attended a first aid course, then chances are you should, however if you haven’t here is a little run down on what you should do in every first aid situation you attend.  Here is what DRSABCD stands for.


D – Danger

R – Response

S – Send for help

A – Airway

B – Breathing

C – CPR or Compressions

D – Defibrillation


Jeroki's DRSABCD flowchart

Jeroki’s DRSABCD flowchart


We should all take stock of situations where first aid may be necessary to make sure there are no dangers to you, the victim (person needing first aid) and to the other people.

Common dangers you might encounter include electricity, traffic, environmental considerations, other people and furniture.

If you can resolve the dangers without injuring yourself, do so. Or if you can’t control the dangers, but you think you need to move the person, then do so. Or if you cant do either, then wait for emergency services to assist.



If you feel safe to do so, using a firm hand, squeeze the person on the shoulder. Ask them, “Can you hear me?” “Can you open your eyes?”. You are trying to ascertain if the person is conscious or not. Also bear in mind that babies wont understand you. For babies and infants you might want to perform a sternal rub. This is when you rub your knuckle on their sternum quite firmly to try and get a response from the baby, such as crying.

Why don’t you try a sternal rub on yourself to see how hard you would need to do it to get a response from a baby.



Now this is a newish introduction in the emergency response acronym. Send for help means get help and assistance coming to you. If the person is unresponsive, then you will probably need to have an ambulance call. Call 000, put the phone on speaker, then put it near you on the ground. That way you have two hands free to assess the person you are helping.

Another part of send for help, is if possible, get someone to get you a first aid kit and an AED, otherwise known as a defib machine.

As soon as you get your first aid kit, put some gloves on to protect yourself.



We need to make sure the airway is free from foreign objects, then make sure it is nice and open. Start by dropping the chin down and have a look inside the persons mouth. If there is something in there, get it out, but only do so if you see something visable inside the persons mouth. Once the airway is free from foreign objects, make sure it is open by tilting the persons head back and lifting the chin slightly.

Do this to yourself to see what this position does to your airway. Do you notice that your tongue actually drops out of the way giving you a nice open airway?



Once the persons airway is clear we need to check to see if the person is breathing.

Bend down and put you ear near the persons mouth. Look down towards their chest and place your hand on either the persons chest or abdomen. We are going to do a “look, listen and feel” for 10 seconds. We are looking to see if the chest or abdomen is rising and falling with breath, we are listening for breath, and we are feeling either our hand rising and falling, or feeling breath on our cheek.

We need to do this for 10 seconds, which can seem like a long time in an emergency situation, but we need to give the person a chance to show us if they are breathing or not. It’s the absence of breath that is the indicator of whether they need CPR or not. If the person is not breathing or not breathing normally, such as having a “death rattle” we need to start CPR.



If the person is not breathing we need to start CPR. Expose the persons chest and then start.

Place your hands in the center of the chest and start compression and breaths at a ratio of 30:2, we need to go at a rate of 100-120 compression per minute (to the beat of staying alive by the Bee Gees) and to the depth of 1/3 the depth of the chest.

There are a few subtle differences between adults, children (aged 1-8) and babies.


  Adult Child Infant up to 12 months
Head tilt for breaths Full Half/slight None
Compress with: 2 hands 1 hand 2 fingers
Depth of compression 1/3 chest 1/3 chest 1/3 chest
Rate of Compression 100-120 per minute 100-120 per minute 100-120 per minute
Hand Placement Mid chest line Mid chest line Mid chest line
Compression : breaths 30:2 30:2 30:2


CPR on a baby

CPR on a baby


An AED or defib machine can seem daunting at first, but in reality they are very easy to use and will talk you through the process. An AED or defib machine can be found by looking for these signs.


AED red

Either turn the machine on via an on/off button, or just open the machine. The machine will now talk you through putting the pads on the person’s chest. Listen to what the machine says and follow it’s instructions. If something is not right, it will tell you. Also you cannot accidentally shock someone who does not need it.

I recommend everyone to try and find their nearest defib machine to where they spend a lot of time, maybe at work, sports, or shopping centers.

2017-05-09T14:11:54+10:00 April 27th, 2017|First Aid Training|

About the Author:

Jeroki First Aid provides Australia first aid training courses, CPR training, and emergency response training in Melbourne and Bendigo. Contact us today to book your first aid training or private onsite first aid training course.

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