What is the first thing you should do if you find someone collapsed?

The very first thing you should do if you find someone collapsed is to assess the situation for any hazards to yourself or bystanders. A hazard is anything with the potential to cause harm.

It is important you identify and attempt to reduce the risks from any potential hazards before entering a situation to help a collapsed person. Otherwise, you could yourself end up as a victim!

The hazards present will depend on the situation, but you should quickly check for hazards such as:

  • Moving vehicles & traffic
  • Slip & trip hazards
  • Fumes, gas or smoke
  • Electrical devices or cables
  • Other people – eg: under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Glass or other sharp objects

Once you’ve identified a potential hazard you should take steps to reduce the risk. For example, this could involve asking a bystander to manage traffic (if safe to do so). The specific action you take will depend on the situation.

It is important to remember that as a first aider you are the most important person. Your safety should be your priority. Only enter a situation to help a collapsed person once you have taken reasonable steps to secure your own safety. 

Checking for danger forms the first part of DR ABC – an acronym used to remember the steps to take when dealing with a collapsed person. DR ABC stands for:

  • Danger
  • Response
  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation / CPR / Call for help (this can vary depending on local protocol)

Want to learn more about DR ABC? Sign up to one of our free online first aid courses to learn more about how to help a collapsed victim. 


John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

You may also like...

First aid links

1 Response


    Good information

Leave a Reply