>>  Welcome.A-Z of Drugs.Alcohol.Quiz.Emergency Help.Services.Links.News.Contact

* *

What to do in an emergency

 Help! *

What is an emergency?

When it comes to your health or the health of a friend or somebody in your family, it is often obvious if the person is seriously ill and needs immediate emergency care. An emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation.  It is hard to distinguish between what is and isn't an emergency. Below are some examples of what an emergency could be:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Suspected broken bones
  • Suspected heart attack
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Head injury

Important note:  If you are ever in any doubt it is better to be safe than sorry.

Ring NHS DIRECT: 0845 46 47

How can you help somebody in an emergency?

The way to help someone very often depends on what is wrong with them. Sometimes the best thing to do is to take the person to the nearest accident and emergency department. This will vary from area to area as it does depend on how close your local hospital is. However, even if  your hospital is fairly close, you should still call an ambulance and not move the patient if:

  • You think they may have hurt their back or neck, or have any other injury that may be made worse by moving them.
  • The person is in shock and needs your constant attention; or
  • The person has severe chest pain or difficulty breathing

This web site offers you basic information and tips on how to help somebody in an emergency situation. If you would like to learn more and gain valuable experience on how to help somebody in an emergency then contact the St John's Ambulance, you can book a first aid course and learn how to SAVE A LIFE! www.sja.org.uk

The Recovery Position

If the person is unconscious, there is a safe position to put them in which allows them to breathe easily and stops them choking on any vomit.

  • Once you have checked that they are breathing normally,
  • Lay them on one side (with a cushion at their back if possible),
  • Bring their knee forward
  • Point their head downward to allow any vomit to escape without them swallowing it or breathing it in.

REMEMBER - When moving the person onto their side make sure their neck and back are kept as still as possible.


The ABC of Resuscitation

When you find somebody who appears to be unconscious or suffering from a heart attack it is very important to phone for an ambulance and go through the ABC OF RESUSCITATION.  Even if you don't know what to do, any attempt will give the person a better chance of recovery.

A: Airway - Position the airway and clear it of any obvious obstructions (for adults)

B: Breathing - Look for signs of the person breathing, this may be if their chest is rising up and down, put your ear to their nose and feel for any air coming out. If there are no signs of breathing you will need to give mouth to mouth.

C: Circulation - Look and feel for signs of circulation, check for the pulse of the person either on their neck or the wrists. If you cant feel a pulse than you will have to start chest compressions.

If you are not sure what to do, get help from somebody, the chances are they might know how to give first aid. If you would like to know more on how to give mouth to mouth and start chest compressions please click on the links below:






Stoke-on-Trent Drug and Alcohol Action Team, First Floor, Civic Centre, Glebe St, Stoke on Trent, ST4 1WR
Tel: 01782 235708 . Fax: 01782 235003 . E-mail: drugactionteam@stoke.gov.uk