Do you know your first aid ABCs?

At the heart of first aid is cardiopulmonary resuscitation, also known as CPR. There are three basic components in CPR, and these are airways, breathing and circulation. For people undergoing first aid training, the easiest way to remember this is through the acronym ‘ABC’.

Do you know your ABCs?

For those who do not know or who need a refresher, here is what each of the letters of the ABC in first aid stands for:

Airways (A)

In unconscious patients, it is important to ensure that the airways are not blocked by the tongue, by vomit or by a foreign body. The airways can be opened by moving the head using the ‘head tilt, chin lift’ technique.

Breathing (B)

Once the airway is opened, the next job of the first aider is to assess the patient’s breathing to see if it is normal. Normal breathing is between 12 and 30 breaths a minute. If breathing is not normal, CPR (taught in first aid training courses) should be used to restore normal breathing if possible.

Circulation (C)

With the airways clear and efficient breathing restored, circulation needs to be checked to ensure that oxygen from the lungs can be delivered to the rest of the body. First aiders should take the patient’s pulse and if the situation is critical, chest compressions (also taught as part of first aid training courses) should be performed.