Access and Functional Needs Information for First Responders
People with Seizure Disorders
Some types of seizures have warning symptoms while others do not. Warning symptoms may include visual or auditory hallucinations, or
the person notices a burning smell. If the person senses an upcoming seizure, suggest they lie down and provide help if asked.
Stay calm—talk with the person softly, and rub the person’s arm or back gently
If possible, look at a watch or a clock to time the duration of the seizure. After the seizure is over, give this information to
the person. If the seizure lasts more than five minutes or the person does not resume consciousness, call 911.
Attempt to turn the individual on her/his side; preferably the left side to allow saliva or other substances to drain from the mouth
and keep the airway open.
Move any nearby objects away from the person that could lead to injury if the person hits the object, or see if the person can be
moved if they are near hard objects too heavy to move. You may place a pillow, towel, coat or other soft object underneath the
person’s head to protect it.
Loosen clothing around neck when jerking is over, remove glasses if the person wears them.
If breathing stops, call 911 and start CPR. Please note that
DO NOT restrain the person—the seizure will end naturally.
DO NOT try to force the mouth open with any hard implement or fingers. A person cannot swallow their tongue. Efforts to hold the
tongue down can injure the teeth or jaw.