First aid is emergency care or treatment given to a sick or an injured person before a more
advanced treatment is given. Injury is inevitable and there are chances that one can get hurt by
anything that can lead to emergency situations like fire outbreaks, road traffic accidents, and
some domestic accidents can also lead to emergency situations. However, with the knowledge of
some first aid skills, lives and properties could be saved. Thus, it is of great importance that the
basic skills of first aid are being taught in schools to limit the complications associated with
some emergency situations. If you missed these skills at school, you can learn the basics at
Australia Wide First Aid and America n BLS.
The goals of first aid
- To save or preserve lives.
- Prevent deterioration.
- Promote recovery.
- To take immediate actions.
- Calming down situations.
- Calling for medical assistance.
- Apply the relevant treatment.
The above mentioned are the major goals of first aid. However, for one to be a good first aider,
they must be:
- Observant: Noting the cause and signs of injury can help prevent complications.
- Tactful: Avoiding thoughtless questions.
- Resourceful: Using whatever is at hand to the best advantage. Doing so prevents further
- Explicit: Give clear instructions to the patient and advice to the assistants.
- Discriminating: The first aider may decide which of the several injuries should be given
General rules of first aid
For first aid to reach its goals, the first aider should do the following:
- Remove the victim from danger or stop any further damage to the patient.
- Treat the most urgent conditions first and in order of priority e.g., apparent cessation of
breathing, severe hemorrhage, shock, etc.
- Any unconscious victims should be properly positioned.
- Alcoholic stimulants should not be given as these have a transient effect with a
subsequent depressing effect on the vital centers.
- Give patients reassurance as this gives a confidence boost.
- Medical aid should be sought by written message rather than verbal means as verbal
information has a tendency to become altered.
- Organize unskilled on-lookers or survivors to help in any way possible.
- A sensible assessment of the situation is important especially if a decision has to be made
regarding the need for medical aid or the transportation of the injured person to the
An essential first aid kit should contain
- Antibacterial wipes
- Pain killers
- Gauze pads
- Medical gloves
- Medical instruments
- Burn gel
- Antibiotics ointment
- First-aid instructions
However, to treat a broad array of injuries, a good first aider should have the following in mind:
- Check the scene for danger before providing help.
- When treating cuts and scrapes, gently apply pressure, disinfectants, and bandages.
- When treating sprains, apply ice and keep the limb elevated.
- To treat heat exhaustion, use cold fluids, clothes, and shades.
- To treat hypothermia, use warm fluid and warn coverings.
- To treat burns, determine the type, the severity, and the victim’s age.
- To treat the fracture, keep the fractured area immobilizes and stable.
- Perform CPR if an injured person stops breathing.
The must-know first aid basics for any emergency
The knowledge of basic first aid management is meant for everybody. This is because
emergency situations can arise anywhere and at any time. With the knowledge of basic first aid
management, further complications may be prevented.
Some of the must-know first aid procedures are:
How you can apply CPR
Heart failure is one of the most common causes of death and emergency situations. Among the
myriads of factors that account for death in America, cardiac arrest holds a very commonplace.
An estimated 300,000 or more cardiac arrests happen outside the walls of a hospital or healthcare
center every year, which emphasizes the relevance of increased first aid knowledge and training
under conditions of emergency.
When the heart stops pumping blood, the victim’s brain will begin to infarct within four minutes.
Prompt measures should be taken to prevent further damage to the brain due to a poor supply of
oxygen or the death of the brain.
CPR is the process of compressing or applying pressure to the chest region to restore circulation
This is how onlookers can apply Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR):
If the victim is breathless, place the bottom of your right hand in the center of his or her chest
over the sternum. After this, place the other hand over the right hand with the fingers interlaced.
Apply a firm compress on the chest at the rate of at least 100 compressions per minute.
This is also called ‘mouth to mouth resuscitation.’ This is mostly done to victims when there is a
need to open their airways for breathing. Using your thumb and your index finger, loosely grip
the victim’s nose to prevent loss of air from the nose. While giving the rescue breathing, seal
your lips over the victim’s lips and exhale completely into the victim’s mouth in such a way that
you will see his or her chest risings.
This rescue breathing is done twice after every 30 compressions. If the chest of the victim
doesn’t rise, change the position of the victim’s head and repeat severally.
Checking for breathing
The first aider should repeatedly check for breathing after administering cardiopulmonary
respiration. This is done by monitoring the chest rise or by putting your hand over the victim’s
How to stop severe bleeding
Many situations, such as accidents, may occur and can lead to severe bleeding. If the case is
worse, it can cause death due to excessive blood loss.
Excessive bleeding can be caused by the inability of the blood to form a fibrin mesh–called a
clot. This will eventually lead to the victim bleeding out. In case a bystander witnesses a person
bleeding profusely, they are advised to stop the bleeding by applying pressure over the wound
site using a clean cloth; in cases of emergencies, t-shirts, handkerchiefs, or other clothing articles
can be used to stop the bleeding. Some measures like raising the wound (in cases where it
occurred in any of the extremities) above the heart can also help to slow blood loss.
It is important to know that bleeding can come from different blood vessels, and their differences
are crucial for effective management. For example, bleeding from the artery spurs or pulsates
and is brightly colored red. In this situation, applying the continued application of pressure
before the medical aids arrive is important for the victim to make it. Venous blood is dark red in
Note that a tourniquet should be the last resort when managing a victim with bleeding. If it is to
be used, it should not be tied for more than 15 minutes to avoid tissue ischemia.
How to clean a wound
Cleaning wounds is the first step to recovery. Whether it is a burn, incision, or scrape, it should be
kept clean to avoid infections. Infections make it hard for the wound to get healed and this can
lead to long and serious health challenges or serious complications to the wound. So, it is
important to keep the injured area clean.
Before touching a wound, first of all, wash your hands with soap and clean water. If none is
available, hand sanitizers can be used to sterilize your hands. Doing so helps prevent harmful
bacteria from invading the wound. Next, find a clean cloth, gauze, or other absorbent and apply
pressure until bleeding stops. If blood continues to ooze through the material, add another layer
on top of the already used one and seek medical assistance.
Next, wash the wound surface with clean water. This helps the first aider to carry out a proper
examination of the wound. Now that the wound is clean, you can apply antibiotic ointment if
available. You can also apply a bandage to protect the wound.
How to manage shock
Shock occurs in a situation where there is a poor supply of nutrients and oxygen to the cells,
causing the victim to die or malfunction. Excessive blood loss is also known to result in a drop in
blood pressure. If controlling the bleeding proves to be a difficult task, shock management
should be commenced to save the victim’s life or prevent further damages.
To treat shock, one has to do the following:
- Calm the victim’s anxiety by reassuring them to stay calm.
- With the leg raises above the head, the victim is laid on his/her back on a flat surface. This is done in order to increase blood circulation to the brain.
- Check the patient’s breathing. If the victim is not breathing, CPR may be required.
- Loosen or remove any clothing or belts that are tight-fitting.
- Make sure that the victim is breathing well.
- To give warmth, protect the victim with any available piece of cloth.
- Call for medical aid.
How to perform the Heimlich maneuver
This is similar to CPR and its life-saving advantage but finds its application in a completely
different situation. It is designed to help someone who is choking. The individual's ability to talk
is used to access the severity of choking.
To administer this maneuver, it is required that you wrap your arms around the choking person
with the fist placed between the rib cage and the victim’s belly button. Then, quickly deliver an
upward push. Repeat this maneuver until the object causing the choke gets ejected from the
airway of the choking person.
First aid treatment is the initial treatment given to an injured person before taking him or her to
the hospital for more or advanced treatment. Knowledge about basic first aid skills is very
important for every individual to have because emergency cases can arise anywhere. Having this
knowledge can help save a life or prevent further complications from occurring.
A health care professional is not the only one capable of saving a life or giving first aid
management to an injured person. Having the basic knowledge of first aid management can also
help save lives and making society a better place.