The COVID-19 pandemic has made acute respiratory distress one of the most common emergencies first responders face. Without prompt intervention, it can lead to respiratory failure and life-threatening complications. One 2016 study found that 34 percent of respiratory failure sufferers had died within a year of their diagnosis. As the pandemic rips through communities, you must do everything you can to mitigate its effects. These guidelines can help you offer appropriate airway protection to treat and ideally prevent acute respiratory failure.