There is clear evidence for the use of a protective ventilation protocol in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). There is evidence to suggest that protective ventilation is beneficial in patients at risk of ARDS. A protective ventilation strategy was implemented on our intensive care unit in critical care patients who required mechanical ventilation for over 48 h, with and at risk for ARDS. A complete audit cycle was performed over 13 months to assess compliance with a safe ventilation protocol in intensive care. The ARDS network mechanical ventilation protocol was used as the standard for our protective ventilation strategy. This recommends ventilation with a tidal volume (V t) of 6 ml/kg of ideal body weight (IBW) and plateau airway pressure of ≤30 cm H2O. The initial audit failed to meet this standard with V t's of 9.5 ml/kg of IBW. Following the implementation of a ventilation strategy and an educational program, we demonstrate a significant improvement in practice with V t's of 6.6 ml/kg of IBW in the re-audit. This highlights the importance of simple interventions and continuous education in maintaining high standards of care.