Fainting occurs when the brain does not get enough blood supply which causes a brief period of unconsciousness. It’s useful to learn a simple first aid treatment protocol, which will ensure the casualty is safe and help assist with their recovery.
Fainting is commonly triggered by episodes of exhaustion, pain or hunger and when a person stands or sits for prolonged periods. The condition is also exacerbated in hot conditions.

Signs & Symptoms

Look out for the below signs to establish that someone has fainted and will require first aid assistance:
  • Brief period of unconsciousness
  • Pale, cold / clammy look to the skin
  • Slow pulse
Remember - First aiders are not required to know how to read a pulse. It’s only used for monitoring purposes if you are confident to do so. 


When someone has fainted keep calm and apply the following treatment protocol which will help ensure that they recover in full:
  1. Carefully lay them down on the floor 
  2. Raise their legs onto your shoulder or a chair 
  3. Encourage bystanders to stand clear
  4. Make sure there is plenty of fresh air
  5. Watch their face for signs of recovery
  6. When responsive help them to sit up slowly 
Helpful hint - If the casualty has fainted on a bed or sofa then they do not necessarily need to be moved to the floor.

Generally when a person faints they should regain consciousness within a couple of minutes. Treat them as an unresponsive casualty if they do not regain consciousness. 

Before leaving the scene make sure the casualty is aware that they should visit their GP if they have another episode of fainting. This is because it could be a sign of an underlying medical problem such as a heart condition.