There are four first aid steps, which are:
- Checking the scene for hazards and removing them
- Calling for help from a nearby person (to call 999 and get a first aid kit)
- Checking the person for signs of injury, responsiveness and diagnosing a problem (ABCs)
- Waiting for the emergency services and giving aid
First Aid Steps
All first aiders looking to help an injured or ill person should remember these key first aid steps. They are a key part of first aid training. They are so important and could end up saving someone’s life. It is also important to stick to this order, for maximum efficiency and to ensure personal safety.
Firstly, a person needs to minimise the risk of external factors. This is because they can make the situation worse by bringing further harm to an injured person. They can also jeopardise the personal safety of a first aider, and any bystanders. These can include:
- Moving cars
- Moving objects at work e.g. machinery
- Large fires
- Chemical substances
- Sharp tools
Obviously injured people should not be moved, so you will have to control risks yourself. Put up a first aid sign if you have one, stop cars, remove sharp tools and turn off machinery to prevent further incidents.
Calling for Help
Dealing with a problem in a team is much more effective than on your own. This is because a problem shared is a problem halved.
As a result, a person should call for help when arriving at a scene. This is because the first aider can get on with diagnosing and injury and preventing it from getting worse, whilst another person gets a first aid kit, calls 999 when the time comes, and provides emotional support.
This means that a person trained in first aid can get on with what they were really trained to do: save lives.
Checking Responsiveness and Injuries
A person should do a visual and verbal assessment of an injured person.
Some injures are obvious during a visual and verbal inspection. Asking the person what happened is the easiest way to find out, as they tell you the source and location of pain. This is done when you ask the SAMPLE questions. These include symptoms, allergies, medication, past medical history, last food or drink and events before the injury.
However, not all injures are so clear to detect. To assess whether someone is unconscious, you should call out to them. If they don’t respond, lightly shake their body from the shoulders. If they are totally unresponsive, check for the ABCs. This stands for airways, breathing and circulation.
To check circulation, place two fingers on the side of the neck and feel for a pulse. To check for breathing problems, hold your hand over the mouth of the person and see if you can feel air. If a person is wheezing, breathing irregularly or at all, an airway may be blocked. In this situation, you should call 999 immediately.
Implementing First Aid Procedures
After calling for 999, a first aider should start to put health and safety procedures into action. These include any and all measures to minimise pain, prevent the situation form getting worse and aiding recovery.
For people showing no signs of breathing and circulation, they require CPR. According to Red Cross UK, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation occurs when you push “firmly downwards in the middle of the chest and then release”. This should be done a total of 100-120 times a minute.
If someone is breathing but unresponsive, you need to put them in the recovery position. This involves turning them onto their side and tilting the head up. This ensures the airways stays open.
Other procedures include cleaning and bandaging cuts, applying ice to areas of impact and immobilising fractured body parts.