ST JOHN AMBULANCE: Make sure you are prepared when moving a casualty

St John Ambulance, the nation's leading first aid charity has teamed up with the Herald and Gazette to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips '“ this week: casualty handling.

Only move a casualty if they are in imminent danger
Only move a casualty if they are in imminent danger

When giving first aid you should leave a casualty in the position in which you find them until medical help arrives.

Only move them if they are in imminent danger, and even then only if it is safe for you to approach and you have the equipment and training to carry out the move.

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A casualty should be moved quickly if they are in imminent danger from drowning, fire, explosion, gunfire or a collapsed building.

If it is necessary to move a casualty, consider the following before you start:

• Is the move necessary? Can the casualty can be assessed and treated in the position in which you find them.

• What are their injuries or conditions, and will a move make them worse?

• Can the casualty move themselves? Ask the casualty if they feel able to move.

• The weight and size of the casualty

• Can anyone help? If so, are you and any helpers trained and physically fit?

• Will you need protective clothing to enter the area?

• Is there any equipment available to help with the move and are you trained to use it?

• Is there enough space to move the casualty safely?

• What sort of ground will you be crossing?

If you do need to move a casualty, take the following steps to ensure safety:

• Select a method relevant to the situation, the casualty’s condition and the help and equipment available.

• Use a team. Appoint one person to coordinate the move and make sure that the team understands exactly what to do.

• Plan the move carefully and make sure everyone is prepared.

• Prepare any equipment and make sure it is in place.

• Explain to the casualty what is happening and encourage them to cooperate as much as possible.

• Position yourself as close as possible to the casualty’s body.

• Adopt a stable base with feet shoulder-width apart so that you remain well balanced and maintain good posture during the move.

• Use the strongest muscles in your arms and legs to power the move. Bend your knees.


• For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website ( offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.


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