The Recovery Position

first aid training in hemel hempstead

The Recovery Position

To date we have looked at casualty management which has us checking if a casualty is breathing or not.  We have looked closely at CPR which is what we shall perform if the casualty is not breathing and how to use a defibrillator.  Now, we shall take a look at what to do if our casualty is breathing but is unconscious, we shall generally place them into the recovery position.  Here at the training centre we deliver First Aid training in Hemel Hempstead and First Aid at Work training in Hertfordshire.

A closer look

Initially we conduct the Primary Survey, recap on the primary survey here –

Having run through DRABC, we notice that the casualty is breathing and that they are unconscious.  We should now send for help and place the casualty in to the recovery position.

The aim of the recovery position is to have the casualty laying on their side, not their back; if we leave the casualty on their back whilst unconscious, we improve the risk of fluids or their tongue blocking their airway.  It is important that the head is facing down slightly so that fluids can flow out of the mouth easily and the tongue falls forwards.

To perform the Recovery Position

  1. Kneeling by the casualty’s side take hold of the closest hand and place it gently above their head.
  2. Take hold of the furthest knee and lift it up so that their foot is flat to the floor.
  3. Take hold of their further hand away from you and gently place the back of their hand on the cheek closest to you.
  4. Take hold of their hand on their cheek in one hand and their knee with your other hand and in one movement pull their knee/leg over towards you.  Their body should naturally follow.
  5. Once on their side you can let go of the knee:

Concentrate on their head first; you may need to tilt their head slightly back to open their airway and ensure their heard is slightly facing downwards.

Now move their leg so that hey are balanced by having their knee bent gently at a right angle.

  • Double check that they are in the right position – is their airway open? Are they still breathing normally.
  • If you haven’t done so already ensure the emergency services are called.
  • Monitor the casualty.

Should you notice that the casualty stops breathing you must start CPR immediately and locate your nearest defibrillator.

Further information – The Recovery Position

To watch a video on how to place someone in to the recovery position click here –

For further information and training please visit The Training Centre, we deliver Paediatric First Aid Training in Hertfordshire and Paediatric First Aid Training in Hemel Hempstead.

If you would know more about First Aid Training in Bedfordshire, then please visit