What is photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy?

We are all learning BLS in order to have the skills to help a collapsed person should the need arise, however, how do we know these skills are needed?

There are certain steps that you can take in order to determine whether or not someone needs help or not in an easy and systematic way.


The first thing that you need to check is the area immediately around the collapsed person. The first instinct that you may have when you see someone who collapsed is to go and help them, but you need to be careful, because if there is something around them that may cause you harm, you yourself might also become a casualty. There is no particular list of things to look out for but the generally they would be things like:

  • Incoming cars (if in the person collapsed in the middle of the road)
  • General belongings scattered around the person (there could be broken glass from a shopping bag for example)
  • Exposed electrical wires


If you have determined that it is safe to approach the collapsed person, next you will need to check if they are unconscious. There are simple ways to do this:

  1. Approach them and gently shake their shoulders (as if you’re trying to wake them)
  2. Ask “hello! can you hear me?” or “what happened? can you open your eyes?”

If the person opens their eyes or gives any kind of gesture, then that means they are responsive. If the above steps do not garner any reaction, then they are unconscious and need to be treated as soon as possible.

Shout for Help

If the person is unconscious, shout for help immediately.

if someone comes to help, as them to standby while you continue the assessment (as you might need them further along)


If the person is not responding to you, the next thing you need to check is the airway. Open the airway by placing one hand on the forehead to gently tilt the head back, while using two fingers of the other hand to lift the chin (as demonstrated in the clip)

This manoeuvre allows the airway to be in the most optimum position for breathing.

if there is an obvious obstruction in the mouth that you can take out easily, go ahead and do it. if the obstruction is not easy to get to, DO NOT do blind finger sweeps because that might just make the problem worse


Now that you opened the airway, you need to check if the person is breathing. You can do this with the “look, listen and feel” method.

  1. Place your ear above their mouth, looking down towards their chest to see if it is rising and falling.
  2. Listen for sounds of breathing
  3. See if you can feel their breath on your cheek.
  4. Do this for 10 seconds.

If the person is unresponsive and not breathing, ask the person who came to help (from the “shout for help step”) to call 999/112 and start CPR immediately. you can also ask this person to find an AED near-by.

if no one came to help earlier, simply use your mobile to call 999/112 and put it on speaker while you start CPR


If the person is unconscious but breathing, you can now check for signs bleeding.

if the person is bleeding, then put direct pressure on the wound to slow the bleeding and call 999/112 for help.

if the person is unconscious but breathing, with no signs of bleeding, then call 999/112 and put them in the recovery position