Assessment of breathing

When assessing the breathing, make sure the airway is open. Allow 10 seconds to decide if the casualty is breathing normally or not.

  • Open the airway.
  • Look for the chest rising.
  • Listen for air being breathed on your face.
  • Feel air on your cheek.

Open the airway and LOOK, LISTEN and FEEL for breathing for a maximum of ten seconds

When assessing a casualty for breathing, there are a number of questions to consider:

  1. Is the casualty breathing via LOOK, LISTEN, FEEL?
  2. Is the breathing “normal”?
  3. Is the breathing regular or not?
  4. Is the breathing fast (>25 bpm) or slow (<10bpm)?
  5. Are both sides of the chest moving equally?
  6. Is the casualty pink or blue?

An unconscious casualty with slow irregular breathing should be treated as if a cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation begun immediately.