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First aid

Managing an emergency

The very first steps you take when you encounter an incident are vital for giving effective first aid. In an emergency situation, it’s very easy to get stressed and make mistakes.

Follow these three straightforward steps.

Step 1

Make sure you and the casualty are in a safe place. If there’s any danger, if possible, make the situation safe before performing first aid.

Step 2

Make sure you and the casualty are in a safe place. If there’s any danger, if possible, make the situation safe before performing first aid.

Step 3

Make sure you and the casualty are in a safe place. If there’s any danger, if possible, make the situation safe before performing first aid.

Treating an unconscious casualty

If someone is unconscious and breathing, first look for injuries that would stop them from being moved. If there are none, then place them in the recovery position until help arrives. Once they are in the recovery position, always keep a close watch on them to ensure their breathing remains normal.


If they’re unconscious and not breathing, call 112 and start CPR straight away.


If you haven’t been trained to perform rescue breaths properly, then use hands-only CPR.

Useful videos to watch

First Aid Training by St John Ambulance

Watch video

How to do CPR on an Adult

Watch video

How to perform hands-only CPR

How to perform hands-only CPR

Step 1

Kneel beside the casualty.

Step 2

Put the heel of one hand on the middle of their chest.

Step 3

Put the heel of your other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers together, but make sure they don’t touch the ribs.

Step 4

Keeping your arms straight, position your body directly over your hands.

Step 5

Press down hard and push fast to a depth of around 5-6cm before releasing the pressure. Repeat compressions to the beat of the song Staying Alive. Be sure to allow the chest to rise back up completely between compressions.

Step 6

Continue CPR until you see obvious signs of life (like coughing, breathing, opening eyes), emergency help arrives to take over, or a defibrillator is ready to be.

How to treat common accidents and emergencies

Anaphylaxis: severe allergic reaction

As an affected person’s tongue and throat may swell their airways become blocked and they may develop breathing difficulties. Call emergency services immediately if you even suspect someone is experiencing this.


An asthma attack can be triggered by many different things such as a cold, a drug, cigarette smoke, or an allergy.

If someone is having an asthma attack then it can soon become life-threatening. If this happens then do the following:

  • Sit them upright and encourage them to take slow, steady breaths.

  • Keep them calm, panicking might make matters worse.

  • If they have an inhaler then encourage them to use it.

  • If they don’t have an inhaler or they seem to be getting worse then call an ambulance.

Bleeding heavily

First call an ambulance as soon as possible. Then check if there’s anything embedded in the wound, if there is then try not to put pressure on the object.

Now apply and maintain pressure on the wound until the bleeding stops. Finally, use a clean dressing to bandage the wound firmly.

Watching this British Red Cross video could save someone’s life in case of bleeding.

Watch video

Broken bones

After checking the casualty is conscious and not bleeding heavily, in most cases it’s best to prevent further pain or damage by keeping the fracture as still as possible until help arrives.


Mild choking:

  • Encourage them to cough to clear the blockage.

  • Ask them to try to spit the object out.

Severe choking occurs where the airway is totally blocked and the person can’t speak, cough, cry or breathe. In this situation, do the following:

  • Stand behind and slightly to one side of the person. Support their chest with one hand and lean them slightly forward.

  • With the heel of your hand give up to five sharp blows between their shoulder blades.

If back blows and abdominal thrust haven’t cleared the blockage then call an ambulance and tell the operator the person is choking. Continue cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts until help arrives.

Watching this British Red Cross video could save someone’s life in case of choking.

Watch video

Diabetic emergency

People who have diabetes may experience a diabetic emergency, where their blood sugar becomes too high or too low.

People with diabetes may have certain items with them, so it’s always worth checking for these if they become unwell in your taxi:

  • A medical warning bracelet or necklace.

  • A glucose gel or glucose tablets.

  • Medication, such as an insulin pen, a special pump or tablets and a glucose testing kit.

Find out what to look for and what to do on the St John Ambulance help page which includes this helpful video.

Watch video

Heart attack

One of the most common life-threatening conditions a passenger could suffer from is a heart attack. If you think someone is having or has had a heart attack then immediately call an ambulance and move them into a comfortable sitting position.

If the person has any medication for a heart condition, then help them to take it. Keep them closely monitored until help arrives. If they become unconscious then check their breathing and, if necessary, begin CPR. Call emergency services again and tell them the person is now in cardiac arrest.


Poisoning can occur for a whole host of reasons but most usually happens when someone swallows a toxic substance, takes an overdose of prescription medicine, or eats poisonous wild plants or fungi.

Unfortunately, as a rideshare driver you could come across a passenger who has done this.

While waiting for an ambulance to arrive remember the following:

  • Try to find out if they have consumed something that has caused poisoning.

  • Don’t give them anything to eat or drink.

  • Do not try to make them vomit.

  • Stay with them as their condition may worsen or they may become unconscious.

  • If they do become unconscious then check for breathing and, if necessary, perform hands-only CPR.


If you think someone is suffering from poisoning then call 112 for immediate medical help.


The easiest way to assess if someone has had a stroke is to use the FAST guide. FAST stands for:

  • Face – The face may drop to one side. The person may be incapable of smiling and their mouth or eye may also drop.

  • Arms – They might be unable to lift both arms and keep them there due to numbness or weakness.

  • Speech – Their speech may become slurred or garbled. Or they might not be able to talk at all.

  • Time – Every second counts. So, call 112 as soon as you notice any of the above symptoms.

Be aware that in some unfortunate cases someone having a stroke has been mistaken for being drunk or under the influence of drugs. If in doubt, always call for help.

Alcohol poisoning

Drinking large amounts of alcohol quickly can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can be extremely dangerous.

Some of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Vomiting.

  • Confusion.

  • Very slurred speech.

  • Irregular or slow breathing.

  • Loss of coordination.

  • Pale or almost blue skin due to low body temperature.

  • The person is conscious, but unresponsive.

  • The person is unconscious.

How do you help someone who is showing signs of alcohol poisoning?

  • Try to keep them awake and upright.

  • Give them some water (and nothing else), if they can drink.

  • Place them on their side in the recovery position if they have passed out and make sure they are breathing properly.

  • Keep them warm.

  • Stay with them and monitor their symptoms.


Remember, if you think someone might have alcohol poisoning - even if you suspect it - call 112 for emergency and ask for help. Refuse to drive drunk passengers!

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