First Aid Daily: 4.3 DR.ABC- Airway

One dose of food poisoning and a chest infection later but I’ve recovered.

we’re over halfway now in our ‘DR.ABC’ breakdown, today we have an easy one. ‘A’, Airways. We as human beings need oxygen to breath, and this is taken in through our mouth and nose along several passages into our lungs. If we don’t have oxygen, we die.

When we conduct our primary survey we need to ensure all airways are unblocked.

This is done easily by tilting the casualty’s head back and opening their mouth. Conduct a multiple point check to see if there are any blockages. A torchlight on a smartphone is useful for this. Remember to check for:

  • Blockages from food/objects (especially important with children)
  • Missing teeth and/or oral bleeding
  • Inflammation of the throat
  • Chewing Gum or Snus (primarily for Scandinavian countries)


If a blockage is found we MUST NOT insert our fingers into the casualties mouth in an attempt to remove it. We must roll the casualty onto their side and allow the item(s) to fall out with gravity. If this is unsuccessful we must notify the paramedics of the obstruction. 

-Elliot James