Sometimes when you go out things can go wrong, no matter how well planned the night was. Understanding why things can go wrong can help prevent them going wrong in the future. It is also important to know the steps to follow if something does go wrong.
There are lots of factors that can contribute to drunkenness. Some of these factors include:
If someone becomes unwell or collapses it is very important to treat it as an emergency and get help immediately. Don’t delay, you could save their life by getting help sooner rather than later:
What NOT to do in an emergency:
The recovery position is a safe and stable position for someone who is unconscious or nearly unconscious. Sometimes when people have too much to drink they are likely to vomit and placing them in the recovery position will help to make sure they don’t choke on their vomit. When in the recovery position a person is in a balanced position on their side with their head supported. It is important to check a person in the recovery position is still breathing regularly, watch for chest rise and fall. If possible do not leave an unconscious person alone for too long. The recovery position ensures:
It’s important to remember a few things during an emergency when you call an ambulance.
If the person is conscious and responding when you talk to them:
If the person is unconscious/not responding you may need to administer the St John Ambulance DRSABCD Action Plan.2
Danger – check for danger to you, the casualty and others.
Response – check if they are unconscious or conscious. Check for a response by asking for their name and squeezing their shoulders. If there is a response, begin to make the person comfortable, check for injuries and monitor response. If there is no response to your voice or your touch send for help.
Send for Help – If an ambulance hasn’t already been called, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance or if there is someone else present get them to make the call.
Airway – open the mouth and check for foreign material blocking the airway. If there is anything blocking the airway, place the person in the recovery position and scoop the mouth from top to bottom with two fingers. Open the airway by tilting the head with the chin lifted.
Breathing – check breathing by looking and feeling for chest movement. Listen for air coming out of the mouth and nose, the occasional gasp is not enough.
If the person is breathing normally place them in the recovery position and call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. Regularly check they are breathing until the ambulance arrives.
If the person is not breathing normally carefully roll them onto their back and commence CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation).
CPR – involves giving 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 compressions per minute followed by ventilating the person by giving them 2 breaths.
Place the heel of the hand on the lower half of the breast bone in the centre of the chest with the other hand on top of the first hand. Press down 1/3 of the chest depth.
With the casualty lying on their back, open their airway by lifting the chin and tilting the head backwards. Take a breath then place your mouth over the casualty’s mouth, ensuring a good seal, then blow into their mouth for up to 1 second.
Turn your mouth away from the casualty’s mouth and watch for chest to fall. Maintain head tilt and chin lift and take another breath and repeat the sequence.
Continue CPR (30:2 ratio) until help arrives or the casualty recovers. You should aim for approximately 100 compressions per minute.
If the casualty starts to breathe, place them in the recovery position. Reassure them and cover them with a blanket if there is one available and if they are cold. Stay with them and check their breathing and signs of life every two minutes until the ambulance arrives. Remember – it’s important to keep doing CPR once you have started. DO NOT stop and start CPR. Continue CPR until help arrives, the person starts responding and breathing normally, or you are not able to continue.
Defibrillation – Apply an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if there is one available and follow the voice prompts. Ensure that everyone is clear of the casualty before delivering the shock.
Think about who might need to be called and who should make these calls.
1 National Health and Medical Research Council. Frequently asked questions: Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia. [online] 2009 [cited 2013 March 8]. Available from: URL: www.nhmrc.gov.au
2 St John Ambulance Australia (n.d). DRABCD action plan. available from URL: http://stjohn.org.au/assets/uploads/fact%20sheets/english/DRSABCD%20A4%20poster.pdf
Call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 toll free for country callers.
For emergencies call the 000 emergency line.