First reduce any further danger to the casualty or yourself by moving them to safety – away from a burning vehicle or building. In the case of a road accident, stop the traffic. With electrocution, switch off the current. If you can’t, stand on dry non-conductive material and push or lever the patient from the power source with a dry non-conductive pole or stick BEFORE touching them. If gas or poisonous fumes are threatening, turn them off at source and take casualties to fresh air.

There is always a risk in moving patients with unknown injuries but, if they are further threatened, they must be moved to have any chance of surviving. People with spinal injuries are at greatest risk when moved – the spinal cord could be severed. The only safe way to move them requires several people.


If a person is unconscious first check whether they are breathing and begin artificial respiration immediately if necessary. Check for external bleeding and injury, trying to establish the cause of unconsciousness.