Secondary Survey (2022) FAW

Once you have dealt with any life-threatening conditions, you can move on to the Secondary Survey.

This is a way of checking for injuries or illnesses by gathering information and examining the casualty from head to toe.

  • If they are conscious, remember to reassure them and talk to them as you do this.
  • Your aim is to find out about the casualty's history, signs and symptoms:
  • What happened in the moments leading up to the injury or illness and is there any relevant medical history?
  • Are there any signs or symptoms that will help you decide what first aid treatment is required?

A checklist of what to cover in a head to toe survey can be viewed HERE

Event History

Try to find out what happened:

  • You may be able to ask the casualty directly or
  • You may need to find out from witnesses at the scene.
  • Find out as much as you can about the mechanism of injury; for example, if the casualty fell from a height, how far did they fall?

Previous Medical History

This can provide important information about the cause of the first aid incident.

For example:

  • Is the casualty wearing a medical alert bracelet?
  • Do they have medication with them which may indicate a medical condition, such as epilepsy, diabetes or risk of anaphylaxis?
  • If they are on medication, find out when they last took it.
  • Check when they last had something to eat or drink.

All this information will provide important clues as to what help they need.

If possible, make a note of your findings, so that you can pass the information on to the emergency services or whoever takes responsibility for the casualty.