The recovery position is one of the corner stones of first aid and refers to positioning the body of an unconscious person into a three-quarters prone position to help keep their airway open.
An unconscious person may not be able to maintain an open airway like a conscious person does. This can lead to an obstruction of the airway, restricting the flow of air and preventing gaseous exchange, which then causes hypoxia, which is life-threatening. Thousands of fatalities occur every year in casualties where the cause of unconsciousness was not fatal, but where airway obstruction caused the patient to suffocate
The recovery position is designed to prevent suffocation through obstruction of the airway, which can occur in unconscious persons lying on their back. By placing the person in the recovery position, gravity can assistance to prevent obstruction of the airway by the tongue, and also gives a clear route by which fluid can drain from the airway.
Here is a good training video for learning how to do the Recovery Position:
Our West Orange County CERT program teaches and reviews skills like this during our bi-monthly training sessions (complete with a great pot-luck and fellowship), our periodic training Saturdays, and our CERT Academy courses. If you would like to find out more about our CERT program and how it can help you keep your family safe in a disaster, please contact us here. If you are not in our area, we will try to connect you to your local CERT program. The more people who are trained, the better prepared our country is – and that is our intent. #CERTforAll