First Aid Acronyms Explained – DRABC

First Aid Acronyms Explained – DRABC

D – Danger

R – Response

A – Airway

B – Breathing

C – Circulation

An acronym is a word or name formed as an abbreviation, created from the initial letters of a phrase or a word. The first aid world uses many acronyms to help us remember different treatments. In this series we have explained the meanings of the most common first aid acronyms to help you avoid confusion!

The first aid acronym DRABC is a common acronym used by many first aid training organisations to help the first aider carry out a Primary Survey of a casualty in an emergency situation.


Danger – Is there any immediate danger? Assess the scene to make sure it is safe. If it is not safe, do not go any further, or make it safe before approaching the casualty.

Response – Is the casualty responsive? Ask them a loud question, squeeze their shoulders, Do they respond? If not shout for HELP!

Airway – Open the casualty’s airway by tilting the head back and lifting their chin.

Breathing – Check for 10 seconds to make sure the casualty is breathing. If they are not breathing effectively, call 999 and start CPR. If they are breathing move onto C for Circulation.

Circulation – This is a check for any significant blood loss. If you find bleeding, deal with it using the C.A.R.E. system

At the First Aid Training Co-operative, we prefer to use an A.B.C. approach to remembering how to perform a Primary Survey.  We find that this is more memorable for our students, especially those who’s first language isn’t English.  Doing the first most important parts of First Aid really is as simple as ABC!
















This video shows how to perform a primary survey on an unconscious casualty


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