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How to put someone in the recovery position

Putting someone into the recovery position helps to maintain their airway. Practising how to do this can help save a life.

Video overview

This video, originally made by Exchange Supplies as part of the Harm Reduction Works campaign, shows you how to put someone into the recovery position.
Practise this with a friend until you can do it without thinking.
If someone is uncouncious and breathing, put them in the recovery position.
  • Open their airway by tilting the head back and lifting the chin
  • Straighten the legs
  • Place the arm nearest to you at right angles to their body
  • Pull the arm furthest from you across their chest and place the back of their hand against the cheek nearest to you
  • Get hold of the far leg, just above the knee, and pull it up, keeping the foot flat on the ground
  • Keep their hand pressed against the cheek and pull on the upper leg to roll them towards you, and onto their side
  • Tilt the head back to make sure they can breathe easily
  • Make sure that both the hip and the knee of the upper leg are bent at right angle
Dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Stay with them until the ambulance arrives.
The content on this page is adapted from Exchange Supplie’s Recovery Position card, available from their website.