So what do you do when someone collapses?

I watched this video over and over again with a lot of sadness.

Not many Nigerians know what to do when a person collapses.

Remember that the collapsed person can be you.

Or your friend.

Or partner.

Or parents.

Or even family.

So what do you do when someone collapses?

A lot of people panic if a person collapses around them. And that’s because they don’t know what to do.

However, panicking doesn’t help.

Throwing your hands up and saying Eya does nothing for the victim.

You must learn how to do first aid It may save the life of your loved one.

Usually when a person suddenly slumps, its due to what is called a “cardiac arrest”

Someone suffering a cardiac arrest will collapse, become unconscious and suddenly stop breathing because their heart has stopped.

So the aim of the first aid is to help jumpstart the heart back.

So what do you do?

It depends on if you are alone.

Or if you are with at least one more person- then it’s a lot better.

If you are with one more person- the other person(s) can focus on immediately calling an ambulance/getting a car to urgently transport the person to hospital.

And you can focus on the first aid to revive the patient while you await for professional medical help in the form of an ambulance or a car to transport the person immediately to hospital.

So this is about effective division of labour.

There’s NO time to waste or take IG videos.

Remember a person who just collapsed is because most likely the heart stopped.


You have to immediately go into action IF this collapsed person will survive.

Every second wasted on “eya” and dancing round the patient only makes it more likely they will die.


1.Check for Danger!

First things, first.

Check for danger and anything that could put you and the patient in more danger.

If a person collapsed in the middle of the road for instance, you must call for help and notify motorists to take another route.

I would not recommend moving a collapsed person on your own- as you may not be able to move them on your own or even move them in a safe medical way.

Just remove any dangerous objects around them like broken objects or sharp materials.

Loosen their clothes a bit.


Face the four different directions around the patient and shout loudly for help.

This is if you are alone with the person who has collapsed.

Call 911, 767, 112, 999 or whatever number is for ambulance in your country.

This should not take more than a minute.

ALL you have to tell them is

Where you are- clear address

Who you are- just your name

What you found- a collapse

Give them a number to call back if they miss their way.

Remember time is of the essence- Esp if you are alone.

Don’t spend more than one minute on that phone call.

Time used to call ambulance dispatcher is not time for unnecessary descriptions.

“If you turn right, then go straight, then enter under bridge etc etc” it’s useless.

Give address, let them use google maps or ask around.

Except if you are two.

And someone has started first aid.

3. Do the A, B, C

Quick Check

Check the Airway.

Tap them on the shoulders and call them if you know their name.

Watch for any response.

If no response, If there’s no response, leave the casualty in the position they’re in and open their airway.

Check the mouth quickly for for anything that may be blocking the airway.

So what do you do when someone collapses?
Checking the airway

If you see dentures or food or anything, remove it safely.

Then gently lay them on their back and open their airway- place 1 hand on the forehead and gently tilt their head back, lifting the tip of the chin with the tip of 2 fingers.

Now check B and C

Breathing and Circulation

This can be done using the Look, Listen and Feel technique.

It’s very fast and takes just ten seconds. Kneel beside the patient.

LOOK for any signs of life.

LISTEN for any breathing.

FEEL for any pulse- check the side of the neck.

Once you see there is no sign of life and you cannot feel a pulse- that is a cardiac arrest.

You must do a CPR now!

Start Chest Compressions immediately.

Give 30 chest compressions.

How do you do Chest Compressions?

Kneel next to the person.

Place the heel of one hand in the in the middle of their chest and put your other hand on top, interlock your fingers and then push down.

Using straight arms, press down into the breast bone firmly, so the chest is pressed down by 5-6cms.

Push up and down at a rate of around two per second.

Give 30 push at a go.

So what do you do when someone collapses?

After every 30 chest compressions you do, give them 2 rescue breaths.

How is that done?

Tilt the person’s head gently and lift the chin up with 2 fingers.

Pinch their nose.

And then seal your mouth over their mouth, (or bring it very close if you don’t want it to touch) and blow.

So what do you do when someone collapses?
Mouth to mouth resuscitation

And then blow very steadily and firmly into their mouth for about 1 second.

Look at the the chest and make sure that you see it rise.

Give 2 rescue breaths.

Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

If it’s a child over one year old, between 1-10 years old that collapsed, it’s the same thing- only that you use heel of one hand for the Chest Compressions instead of two.

If it’s a child under one year old, use two fingers only to press the chest- until professional help comes.

Chest compressions
Instructions on compressions.

As I explained, this is best done if you are at least two people.

You can easily swap the Chest Compressions and keep rotating it till an ambulance arrives and medical professionals can then take over.

So if you ever encounter a collapsed person, this is what you MUST do.

Please when a person collapses, do NOT start pouring water on them.

Do NOT start fanning them.

Do NOT start dancing around them and putting your hands on your head.

Do NOT start recording IG Live Videos.

Someone Call an ambulance immediately. Someone start CPR straightaway.

I hope this little short article has taught you what to do if you ever encounter a collapsed person.

Remember- emergency first aid and chest compressions may be the only intervention that would save a collapsed person’s life.

And that person may be your loved one.

Thank you.

And let me add that if at any point, the person is revived before the ambulance comes, if they cough or open their eyes, just stop the Chest Compressions.

LOOK for signs of life.

LISTEN for their breathing.

FEEL for the pulse on their neck.

If they are talking and breathing,

Stop the Chest Compressions.

Sit them up Give no food or anything.

Wait for them to recover properly.

You may give some water.

But wait for an ambulance and ensure you get them to a hospital regardless, for proper medical evaluation and investigation of what happened.

So what do you do when someone collapses? Read the instructions above again.


Yours sincerely,

Dr Olufunmilayo


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