Five Steps to Help Until Help Arrives

If someone is injured, the first few minutes are critical in helping the chances of surviving serious or life-threatening injuries. Would you know how to help them until professional help arrives? A new, easy five-step program will help you learn how.

The You Are The Help Until Help Arrives (Until Help Arrives) program can educate you on how to take action in emergencies. A multiagency effort led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the Uniformed Services University’s (USU) National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) developed the base of the program.

FEMA and collaborating federal agencies decided to build the Until Help Arrives program after research revealed there are simple, easy steps anyone can do to increase the chances of survival for an injured person. Until Help Arrives is the first comprehensive, free-of-charge training program that broadly covers what you should do until help arrives.

According to a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, trauma, such as injuries from a car accident, gun violence, or a fall, is the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 46. The study goes on to say that when people see someone get hurt, their first reaction can be surprise or shock and that response often keeps them from taking action to help.

“The idea is to empower people through training and familiarity to increase the number of people who will be that first person to move and make a difference,” said Andrew Burrows, Citizen Responder Lead with FEMA ICPD

A panel of medical doctors from the multi-agency group established the five actions for the Until Help Arrives program, which require no special equipment. These five actions are calling 9-1-1, protecting the injured from further harm, stopping any bleeding, positioning the injured so they can breathe, and providing comfort.

There are online resources at that can help educate on the five steps. An interactive video set at an amusement park informs how to assist those injured in an accident at different areas of the park, including a runaway go-kart and a malfunctioning Ferris wheel.

“The idea for the interactive video was to introduce the five steps in an entertaining and fun way,” Burrows said. “Our approach was for people to learn the basics in a unique format. This will increase the chances for people to feel comfortable enough to engage in more web-based training which can also be found on the campaign website.” The Until Help Arrives Interactive Video challenges viewers to help virtual accident victims.

While the interactive video only takes a few minutes to complete, the web-based training includes a 25-minute video tutorial for those who want to learn more about how to help a person with life-threatening injuries.

“One of our goals is to generate a change in the perception of how people interact with someone who is injured,” Burrows said. “There is often the idea that if somebody is injured, private individuals should not get directly involved. However, people can gain the confidence to help with this program.”

If you would like to provide Until Help Arrives information and training for a group, there are a number of available resources including instructor-led training materials with a slide deck, supplemental videos, and an instructor guide with tips to teach the course. No qualifications are required. The materials are ideal for a variety of programs and individuals, such as scout troops, volunteer firefighters, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and others who want to educate their organization or community.

“There are no requirements or certifications needed to lead Until Help Arrives training,” Burrows said. “It is ready-made instruction that is sponsored by FEMA and other agencies so that anyone can start using it immediately.”

To access the course and its three components, which are the interactive video, the web-based training, and the instructor-led training, visit