First aid is the first and immediate assistance given to any person suffering from either a minor or serious illness or injury. First aid is vital for saving lives. A person can carry out first aid after a life-threatening incident or injury before the arrival of emergency services. First aid is an emergency measure, generally consisting of simple, often life-saving techniques that most people can train to perform with minimal equipment and no previous medical experience. The term usually refers to administering care to a human, although it can also be performed on animals. First aid is a combination of simple procedures and common sense.
Aims of First aid
- To save a life: Saving lives is the main aim of first aid.
- To prevent further harm: The person who has experienced the injury must be kept stable, and their condition must not deteriorate before medical services arrive. This may include moving the individual away from harm, applying first aid techniques, keeping them warm and dry, and applying pressure to wounds to stop any bleeding.
- Promote recovery: Taking steps to promote recovery may include applying a bandage to a wound.
The most common term referred to in first aid is ABC. This stands for airway, breathing, and circulation. A fourth step will appear in the emergency procedures for some facilities.
- Airway: Make sure the airway is clear. Choking, which results from the obstruction of airways, can be fatal.
- Breathing: Once the airways are confirmed to be clear, determine whether the person can breathe, and, if necessary, provide rescue breathing.
- Circulation: If the person involved in the emergency is not breathing, the first aider should go straight for chest compressions and rescue breathing. The chest compressions will promote circulation. This saves valuable time. In emergencies that are not life-threatening, the first aider needs to check the pulse.
- Deadly bleeding or defibrillation: Some organizations consider dressing severe wounds or applying defibrillation to the heart a separate fourth stage, while others include this as part of the circulation step.
The ABC process must be carried out in that order. However, there are times when a first aider might be performing two steps at the same time. This might be the case when providing rescue breathing and chest compressions to an individual who is not breathing and has no pulse.