Primary survey

D.R.A.B - A simple yet an effective process to managing an unresponsive casualty 

Purpose of a Primary Survey

Commencing the assessment and treatment of an unresponsive casualty with the Primary Survey procedure ensures the most life-threatening conditions are prioritised and actioned in the correct sequence.  A simple yet effective process to managing an unresponsive casualty is to follow the D.R.A.B procedure.  


What does D.R.A.B stand for?

In the order of the procedure:

D - Danger

R - Response

A - Airway

B - Breathing

Prioritising the D.R.A.B procedure

Utilising D.R.A.B during the primary survey ensures the actions to establish whether the casualty is breathing or not breathing normally are in the correct order.  


D - Danger: First and foremost do not put yourself in risk or danger when approaching the unconscious casualty.  Check the area is safe and where necessary remove any hazards if possible.


R - Response: The next step in the process is to ensure if the casualty is responding. This is simply established by gently squeezing or tapping the shoulders and loudly asking 'Are you alright' or 'Can you hear me?'


A - Airway: Providing there is no response, the next step is to manage the airway by using the Head Tilt/Chin Lift method.  This ensures the casualty's airway is open, although at this stage it's yet to be established if the casualty is breathing or not breathing normally.


B - Breathing: If the casualty is breathing normally and doesn't show signs of any other life threatening conditions by conducting a Secondary Survey, place them in the Recovery Position. The Recovery Position will maintain an open and a clear airway, also ensuring any fluid doesn't cause choking.  


If it has been established the casualty is not breathing normally, arrange for an ambulance, request a Defibrillator (AED), and commence CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) immediately.