The first moments after a person is injured are the most critical. If no one intervenes and stabilizes their condition, the chances of survival decrease quickly over time. That is why everyone should be prepared to act in an emergency. Even the smallest actions can mean the difference between life and death.

Because first aid training is so useful in emergencies, we encourage everyone to get educated sooner rather than later. In this guide, we’re going to cover the basic steps of first aid and how you can save someone’s life! When someone needs you, you’ll worry less and act confidently within that vital window of time.

The 5 Steps of Basic First Aid Treatment

When it comes to treating an injured or ill person in an emergency, following the steps of first aid treatment is key. It’s important to remember the proper procedure to make sure you’re doing everything correctly. Here for five steps to follow to make sure you get it right.

1. Check the scene and form an impression

Most people are tempted to jump into action as soon as they see someone with an injury. While you have the right spirit, it’s important to be cautious when attempting to assist anyone. To safely assess the situation, answer the following questions. 

Is the scene safe?

If you run to help someone without assessing the scene, you could get yourself hurt, making the situation more chaotic and confusing. Pause and observe your surroundings. It may be too unsafe to assist a person if:

  • There are downed power lines in the area. If you get near these power lines, you could be electrocuted. This helps no one – it’s only a detriment to the situation so stay back if you see any power lines on the ground.
  • Traffic is too heavy. If you are attempting to assist a person by the roadside, pay close attention to the flow of traffic. If the road is too busy to cross or if the person is in a place where it would be dangerous for you to stop, there isn’t much you can safely do for them.
  • You are alone and the seemingly injured person is far away from the public eye. Unfortunately, some people enjoy taking advantage of the kindness of others. Criminals fake injuries to lure in an empathetic person. Once they are alone, the criminal assaults or robs the good samaritan. If there’s no one available to help you and the person is suspiciously out of the way, it may be safer to call 911 and wait.

Is the person seriously injured?

Observe the injured person. Does the scene look serious? Is the person bleeding? Do they look like they need assistance? These are all questions that you should ask yourself to help you decide how to go about aiding them and to weed out the aforementioned criminals.

What happened?

If you can piece together what happened, you gain a better understanding of how you should go about assisting. In some cases, putting together the events helps you know whether or not you should stick around. For instance, if a person is injured because of an active shooter, it is best to find cover for yourself and remove yourself from the danger.

How many people are involved?

Once you get a count of how many people are involved in an accident, you can come up with a plan and assist them accordingly if possible.

Is anyone else available to help?

If there is another person already on the scene who can assist an injured person, then you may not be needed. If there is no one, though, it may be up to you to save this person’s life.

2. Assisting if a person is responsive and there is no life-threatening bleeding

In a scenario where the injured person is responsive and does not seem to be gravely injured, there is a specific protocol that you should follow.

Obtain consent

You must obtain consent to treat a conscious person. State your name, your level of training, what you think is wrong, and how you plan to treat them. Afterward, ask for permission to give them appropriate medical care.

Get the AED and first aid kit

If there is another bystander around, ask them to get the AED and a first aid kit if available so you can properly treat the injured person’s wounds.

Put on gloves

Your safety comes first; put on gloves if they are available.

Interview the injured person

Ask the person you are assisting about their medical history and if they have any allergies or are on any medications. Find out what symptoms they are experiencing and what happened to cause the accident.

Examine them completely

Next, you should examine the injured person from head to toe. Focus on these parts:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Legs
  • Feet
  • Arms
  • Hands

Based on what you find, you can execute a plan of action.

Provide appropriate care

Think about what the person told you and provide the appropriate medical care according to your skill level and experience. If they need help that is beyond your skill set, you are better off not doing any guesswork.

3. Assisting if a person is unresponsive

If the person appears unresponsive, follow these steps:

  • Shout to get their attention, using their name if possible.
  • Tap the person’s shoulder or the bottom of their foot if they did not respond to your initial calls for attention and try again.
  • Check for any signs of responsiveness.
  • Check for signs of breathing.

4. If the unresponsive person is breathing…

If the unresponsive injured person is breathing normally, here’s how to proceed:

  • Send someone to call 911 or another emergency number.
  • Obtain an AED and a first aid kit if available.
  • Ask bystanders the same questions that you would have asked the responsive injured person in step two as it pertains to the unresponsive person.
  • Do the head-to-toe examination and search for any injuries.
  • Roll the person into the recovery position if there is no life-threatening injury present.

5. If the unresponsive person is not breathing…

If the unresponsive person that you are treating isn’t breathing, you need to act quickly. Follow these steps:

  • Send someone to call 911 or the other designated emergency number.
  • Obtain an AED and first aid kit if available.
  • Lay the person face up on flat ground.
  • Begin CPR or use the AED if one is available and you know how to use it properly.
  • Continue until the person is resuscitated or until emergency personnel arrive.

A note: end CPR if it becomes unsafe for you to continue or if you are exhausted.

Where to get CPR/first aid training

If you read through these steps and were confused about some of the terminologies, don’t worry.  If you do not know what an AED is or you don’t know how to perform CPR, you should definitely consider getting CPR and first aid training. If you need this training, enroll in a CPR + first aid class with ProCPR! The course is easy to understand, interactive, and affordable. You pay when you pass so you have nothing to lose if you don’t. Be the hero that someone needs and get CPR certified today.

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