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First Aid

How To Perform Secondary Survey For First Aid

Tuba Tasneem

March 07, 2023

Read time : 06 mins

Table of contents

History Signs Symptoms

Secondary Survey For First Aid

Perform Secondary Survey For First Aid

The first aid secondary survey is a systematic inspection to determine whether a responding casualty has any additional wounds or infections.

After the initial evaluation, a focused history and physical should be done. The potentially fatal issues have presumably been identified and fixed. You might not have reached this point if that process involved CPR.

The full history and physical exam may include a focused examination of a particular injury or medical complaint, or a quick examination of the entire body as follows, which shouldn’t take three minutes.

A systematic method to find any bleeding or fractures is the secondary survey. This system works its way down to the legs from the head.

Conduct a head-to-toe inspection for bleeding.
Head & Neck: Bruising, swelling, deformity, or bleeding are warning signs to watch (See Spinal Injuries).
Put both hands on the shoulders opposing each other and run them down the chest, comparing both sides of the body. (See Dislocations & Fractures.)
Place your palm on your stomach and gently press, listening for any painful reactions from the patient.
Legs & Arms: Compare your arms and legs using both hands for fractures and dislocations. Also, look for medical alerts.
Move on to a secondary survey after finishing a primary survey and treating any conditions threatening your life. Question a responsive casualty and others around them regarding any possible incidents. If you can, make a note of their responses. Your goal is to learn more about the victim’s background, symptoms, and indicators.

Until you are confident that it is safe to shift the casualty into a position better suited for their injury or illness, leave them where they are.


Learn more about the victim’s past. Use the acronym AMPLE to help you remember. Watch out for any gear with a medical warning that could reveal information about their allergies or medical history.

How To Perform Secondary Survey For First Aid

Allergies: Are they allergic to anything? Medications like aspirin or penicillin, or even nuts?

Medication: Do they take any prescription drugs?

Previous medical history: Do they have any previous medical conditions, such as diabetes, epilepsy, or heart disease? Have they ever been injured or had surgery before?

Last meal: When did they most recently eat or drink?

Event history: When and where did it occur? Has a sickness or an accident caused the incident? Ask any nearby neighbours what happened, and then search for any hints that could lead you to more details.


Look, hear, feel, and smell for any indications of injury, including swelling, deformities, bleeding, discolouration, and odd odours. Always compare the wounded side of the body to the uninjured side when inspecting them. Do they possess the ability to stand or move their limbs normally? Make a note of any superficial injuries as you check them so you may address them after your checkup is complete.


Briefly inquire the casualty about any symptoms and sensations they may be experiencing. They ought to provide the most thorough response feasible. For illustration, ask them:

  • Does it hurt at all?
  • The place of the pain?
  • What time did the pain begin?
  • What kind of pain are you experiencing? Is it dull or intense, consistent or sporadic?
  • Does breathing or movement make the discomfort worse?