Here is a mnemonic quoted in the BBC's "Eastenders" soap opera in February 2000 that signifies the basic order of steps that should be followed in dealing with any major accident:

" DRAB "

(Danger, Response, Airways, Breathing).

The word drab (meaning dull, monotonous) is also a reminder that to be of maximim help, one must react as calmly as possible rather than being excited or nervous.

Danger: First survey the situation - establish whether there is any remaining danger that may still threaten the victim(s) and yourself at the scene of the accident. If there is, try to elimininate it before proceeding. For example with road accidents, organise any bystanders to prevent further traffic from adding to the accident.

Response: Next, check to see if there are any signs of life from the accident victim(s). Concentrate your resources on those who still show some response before then attending to the remaining bodies of those who appear to be beyond any help.

Airways: Make sure that the airways of the victim(s) are not blocked by any fluid or object such as a loose denture or debris from the accident. For semi-unconscious persons lying on the ground, this may often involve laying them on their side so that their tongue does not block their throat.

Breathing: Check that the injured person is able to breathe independently. If they are not, you may have to administer the kiss of life until they are. Once their breathing is established, semi-unconscious persons should be laid on their side so that the base of their tongue cannot block their throat.


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