When To Use First Aid Recovery Position

The recovery position is an important first aid practice that can be used by trained emergency professionals and civilians alike.

Say you’ve been out with a friend who has become so intoxicated that they pass out. Worried about their health, you call emergency services. But what should you do in the meantime to keep them safe? Intoxicated or otherwise unconscious victims are at risk of vomiting and choking. They might need to be placed into the recovery position until first responders arrive.

First Aid Recovery Position

The recovery position is an important first aid practice that can be used by trained emergency professionals and civilians alike.

The goal of the recovery position is to keep the victim’s airway clear and open to prevent choking. By just repositioning the victim correctly, you reduce the likelihood that they will choke on vomit or other fluids and keep them safer.

What is the recovery position?

The recovery position is a technique used in first aid to treat unconscious patients. It involves posing the patient in a certain manner so that their airway remains open. If a patient is unconscious and vomits, they could choke. The recovery position helps prevent choking in these instances.

When To Use First Aid Recovery Position

So, when would you place a victim in the recovery position? The recovery position is used when a patient is unconscious but breathing normally and has no other life-threatening injuries. One example of a condition that requires the recovery position is if someone passes out due to intoxication. In this situation, the patient is likely unconscious but can still breathe. They are probably at a high risk of vomiting, and so proper placement into the recovery position is key.

However, sometimes it is not a good idea to use it. For example, you should not use it if the patient is facing life-threatening injuries that could be exacerbated by movement, such as spinal cord damage. If this is the case, you should dial for emergency services and leave the patient as they are.

If it seems like the patient is not breathing, you should turn them onto their back and administer CPR instead of putting them in the recovery position.

What is recovery position steps?

It is important to act quickly but carefully to aid unconscious patients. If you think you might need to place a victim in the recovery position, follow these steps:

  1. Contact emergency services.
  2. Head over to the patient and assess their condition.
    • If they are unconscious and not breathing, you should not use the recovery position. Instead, you should lie the victim flat on their back and begin administering CPR.
    • If they are unconscious and appear to be breathing normally, this is when you may need to use the recovery position.
  3. If you’ve determined that the patient needs to be put into the recovery position, lay them onto their back and kneel down beside them.
  4. Pull the arm closest to you out to a right angle, with the palm facing up.
  5. Take their other arm and press it against their cheek on the side closest to you.
  6. Using your other hand, take the patient’s knee on the side furthest from you and bend it to a right angle.
  7. Hold the patient’s arm against their cheek, their leg at a right angle, and roll them towards you. They should land in a position where one hand is under the chin, their other arm is preventing them from rolling over, and their leg is supporting them in the position.
  8. Tilt their head back and ensure that their airway remains open.
  9. Keep an eye on the patient while you wait for first responders to arrive. Check their breathing to make sure they do not need CPR.

For a more in-depth understanding of the recovery position and its use, be sure to sign up for first aid training classes from SureFire CPR.

What is the recovery position in CPR?

The recovery position is an important component of first aid, but it is not used in CPR. CPR is administered to patients who are not breathing; the recovery position is used for patients who are breathing normally. However, if a patient stops breathing while in the recovery position, you may need to roll them out of it and perform CPR.

Learn First Aid and CPR at SureFire CPR

Ready to learn more about the recovery position and put your knowledge to action? Sign up for First Aid and CPR training at SureFire CPR! Getting certified is an amazing way to learn new skills, enhance your resume, and become a leader in your community. You never know when you’ll come across a neighbor, friend, or family member in need. Getting training means that you’ll be able to help out when these emergencies happen.

SureFire CPR training classes are efficient, engaging, and effective. In under 3 hours, you’ll learn how to administer CPR for victims of all ages, how to use an AED, and how to help choking victims. You’ll leave the class equipped with a host of new knowledge, confidence in your abilities, and a same-day certification card to prove it to the world.

Sign up today on our website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us using our online contact form or by phone at (888) 277-3143.

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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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