Encountering an unconscious person

When helping a person who does not react, the most important steps are to call for aid and to ensure their airway is open. If they are breathing normally, the person is unconscious.


This video instructs you on how to take action when encountering an unconscious person.

Calling for help

Try to get the person to wake up by talking at them and shaking them. If they cannot be roused, immediately call for help: dial the emergency number 112. When you are connected to the emergency response centre, put the phone on speaker mode, and follow the instructions of the dispatcher.

An unconscious person is breathing normally, but cannot be woken despite forceful attempts.

112 Suomi mobile app

It is best to use the 112 Suomi mobile app to call for help. Through the mobile app, the emergency response centre is automatically notified of the location of the event and help can get there faster.

Opening up the airway

Place the person on their back on a solid platform.

Open the airway by tilting the head back gently by the forehead and by lifting the chin.

A helper opens the airway of a CPR mannequin by slightly tilting its head back and lifting its chin.

See if the person is breathing normally and if their chest is moving in a regular fashion. Use the back of your hand or your cheek to feel if there is an airflow.

A helper monitors an unconscious person’s airway by monitoring the movement of their chest.

Snoring or noisy breathing may be the sign of an obstruction in the airway. Often, the airway is blocked by the person’s tongue hanging down their throat. By bending the head back this condition can be relieved. If a foreign object is visible in the throat, a helper can try to carefully remove it with their hand.

Do not spend more than 10 seconds assessing their breathing.

If the person is not breathing normally after their airway is opened, begin administering CPR.

recovery position; unconscious; emergency number


Updated  8.11.2022