Log Roll


A log roll is a technique used to safely move a person (conscious or unconscious) who is suspected to have a spinal injury. Normally a spinal injury casualty is NOT to be moved as you do not want to cause further damage to their injury. 

However it may be absolutely necessary to move move them when:

  • Assessing their injury

  • Dealing with a bleed

  • They have a airway blockage and needs to be cleared

  • Placing onto a spinal board

  • Move them away from immediate danger

The log roll immobilises the casualty to prevent further damage to the spine or neck area, preventing movement. 


People often question if they should move a casualty with a spinal injury and the First Aid Priority list will help you decide whether you should conduct a log roll or not. 

Priority list

  1. Breathing

  2. Bleeding

  3. Bones / Burns

  4. All others

Spinal injuries would be a number 3 priority, if a person is not breathing then this is a number 1 priority which take priority over number 3 so would take president. 


The central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord.


The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down in the spine in the middle of the back. It carries signals back and forth between the body and the brain.


A spinal cord injury disrupts the signals which in turn can effect movement in the body. 

If the spinal cord is damaged it can effect the persons movement as signals no longer reach parts of the body, dependent on where it has been damaged as to how much of the body will be effected. 

Therefore it is important not to create further damage

STEP 1 - Immobilise the head

The most important roll when conducting this maneuver is to ensure the spine and neck are in alignment (straight). 

The person in control of the head has the control over everyone else and gives the instructions.

The first picture shows the head, neck and spine in perfect alignment. 

The second picture shows what happens to the alignment when head is tilted. 

Spinal 2.png

From the top of the casualties head use both hands on either side of the head to keep it still

  • Do not touch the neck

  • Do not cover the ears, a conscious casualty may need to listen to and respond to questions

  • Do not allow movement

  • Avoid yes or no questions as they will nod in response

Hand placement.png
Head control.png

STEP 2 - Line up your help

Just think, top, middle and bottom

Top:        Shoulders and abdomen

Middle:   Waist and thighs

Bottom:   Knees and feet

As per the picture line your help up and instruct them what they are to do.

(see the red dots)

1st person:   Reach over and grab the shoulder (1) and abdomen area (2)

2nd person: Reach over and grab the top (3) and bottom (4) of the waist

3rd person:  Reach over and grab the knee (5) and ankle (6)

Log roll 2.png

STEP 3 - Begin the roll

Once your helpers are in the right position the person who controls the head has control of everyone. 

Timing is everything and everyone needs to work together and at the same time, this is crucial. 

Log roll 3.png
  1. State to everyone "on the count of three start to roll the person towards you"

  2. Everyone must go at the same time and at the same speed

  3. The body is to stay in line when rolling

Log roll 6.png

STEP 4 - Log roll completed

Log roll 4.png

Once in the completed log roll position you can now examine their injury, remove airway blockages , etc.

You will not be able to hold this position for a prolonged period of time so you will need to place them back down again. 

Complete the roll in reverse order. 

State to everyone "On my count of three we will roll them back again"

Roll them back onto their back 

Again all at the same time keeping the head, neck and back in line through out

STEP 5 - Reverse the log roll

Log roll 3.png

Complete the roll in reverse order. 

  1. State to everyone "On my count of three we will roll them back again"

  2. Roll them back onto their back 

  3. Again all at the same time keeping the head, neck and back in line through out