Let’s look at 3 hypothetical situations to help us know what to do.

Imagine you an electrician is doing work at your home. He is up on a ladder installing a light fitting. Suddenly, all the lights go out and you hear a smashing noise. What is your instinct reaction? To race in. But what dangers could be present? An electrical circuit could be live and there could be shattered glass from the light fitting. If you were to rush in, their could be a real chance of electrocution and cut feet.

Lesson 1: Make sure to take a deep breath and observe the surroundings.

Imagine you are driving on a country road. There is a car ahead of you. Suddenly, a kangaroo jumps out in front of that car. The car swerves to miss the kangaroo and crashes into a powerpole. You pull over to offer help. What dangers could you encounter? Electrical lines could be down, petrol could be leaking from the car, other cars coming up the road could be hazardous. And let’s not forget a angry Kangaroo!In view of the hazards, you might feel it’s unsafe to proceed. So, what can you do to help? You can call emergency services. It’s also important to monitor the situation, if those involved in the crash can get out, they will likely need your assistance. Also, other people might rush in without thinking and injure themselves, so it’s a great idea to warn them.

Lesson 2: If it’s too unsafe to help, call an ambulance and monitor the situation. Make sure to keep those around safe.

Scenario 3

Imagine you’re on a family outing at a local waterhole, a beloved spot for swimming, fishing, and picnicking. Suddenly, your tranquility is broken by a shout near the waterhole. A child who was previously splashing near the bank now appears to be struggling in deeper waters.

Your immediate instinct might be to jump in and swim to the child’s aid. But is the depth and current too strong, is the waterhole banks slippery or rocky. If the person panicking, they could unintentionally pull you under in their struggle.

Lesson 3: In this scenario, your instinct to help is admirable, but leaping in without considering these factors could lead to further danger. Always remember the first rule of first aid: ensure your own safety before attempting to help others. After all, becoming a casualty yourself will not help the situation.

Want to learn a little more about checking for response? Check out our article What is Cows in CPR

Want to try checking for response. You’ll get hands on time trying it in our courses. We’ll help you get confident with the DRSABCD action plan.

Send for Help

A woman stands over an unconscious patient giving CPR

To wrap up the S in DRSABCD: SEND FOR HELP, use 000 to dial emergency services. Make good use of bystanders or speaker mode on your phone to free you up to perform first aid.

Q: S is the 3rd step in the acronym. Does that mean i need to check for danger and response before calling 000.

No. Often we can determine the seriousness of a situation before we check for dangers and responsiveness. For example, if someone is hit by a car and thrown in the air, we would want to immediately send for help.

Q: Who should send for Help?

A: If there is a bystander, we can use them to send for help. That frees us up to perform first aid

Myth: Dialling 112 is better than dialling 000 from mobiles.

Fact: In phones made since 2002, there is no difference in dialling 000 and 112 in Australia. The only advantage of 112 is that it is an international number and can be used in a number of other countries.

Myth: Dialling 112 or 000 from a mobile can connect you where there is no range.

Fact: If you have no service, your phone will try to connect you to another network that has range. For example, if you are with the Vodafone network, your phone will attempt to connect you to 000 operators through the Telstra Network. However, if no network has signal, you will not be able to reach 000.

Myth: When out of range, dialling 000 will connect you to satellites.

Fact: Standard mobile phones do not have the capability to connect to satellites.

Myth: Dialling 911 connects you to 000 on all phones.

Fact: 911 does not automatically redirect to 000. However, some phones have an automatic feature that redirects for you.

A light bulb suggesting an idea

Hot tip: If you are the only person at the scene, why not put your phone on speaker when calling emergency services. That way you can be free to perform CPR.

  1. Put the arm closest to you over the chest
  2. Put the other arm out straight
  3. Lift the knee
  4. Use the knee and shoulder as push points to roll the person to their side
  5. Allow the knee to hit the ground
  6. Grab their hand flatten it out and pull it into the body to keep the body from rolling face down
  7. Tilt their head back gently
  8. Scoop fluids out with your finger to speed up process

A drawing illustrating correct hand placement when giving chest compressions.
A woman demonstrates how to give a proper CPR rescue breath on a manakin as part of DRSABCD.

Rescue Breath’s Good Practice

Breathing too hard:
You want to see the persons chest rise and fall when giving rescue breaths. However if you breath too much, excess air leaves the lungs and enters the stomach which can induce vomiting.

Inadequate Air Seal:
Remember to pinch their nose. Otherwise all the air from the rescue breath will escape through the nostrils.

As we can see quick defibrillation has lifesaving results. We could say that the final D is one part of DRSABCD that gives the biggest chance of survival. So how do you use a defibrillator?

An image displaying where to place defibrillator pads on a patient in accord with the final D of DRSABCD.

Once the defibrillator is there, press the on button. The defibrillator will coach you through the process. It will tell you to apply the defibrillator pads remove them from the defibrillator and apply them to the patient. Place one pad slightly below the collar bone on the person’s right chest above the nipple and one pad on the person’s left side below the arm pit.

Next up, the defibrillator will tell you to step back while it analyses the patients heart rhythm. What does this mean? When a person has a cardiac arrest, the signal from the brain to the heart is interrupted causing the heart to “fibrillate” or we could say “quiver.” The defibrillator analyses to see if this is what the heart is doing before giving a shock.

If the heart is fibrillating, the defibrillator will then apply a shock. It may take multiple shocks before a person is revived. If the heart is not fibrillating, the defibrillator will say shock not advised and then tell you to continue giving CPR.

DRSABCD Defib Myth’s

Myth: A defibrillator can shock a beating heart.
Fact: A defibrillator won’t shock a heart thats beating normally.

Myth: You need to be trained to use a defibrillator.
Fact: While training is important, anyone can attempt to use a portable AED in an emergency.

Myth: It’s like jump starting a car
Fact: It’s not. The shock actually momentarily stops the heart to allow it to correct its rhythms.

Myth: AED’s are expensive
Fact: AED’s can be less than $2000 and last a long time. Most have 8 year warranties. Saving a life could cost less than $250 a year.

Practice giving DRSABCD in our courses

An example of a defibrillator used for DRSABCD