If you came across someone collapsed in the street, would you know how to do CPR and put them in the recovery position? If they’d been stabbed, could you stop the bleeding until paramedics arrived? Knowing how to do the four most common first aid practices could help you save someone’s life one day.
Choking – If the casualty is conscious but is struggling to breathe you should get them to tilt their head slightly forward while you strike them forcefully between their shoulder blades with a flat palm. If they don’t cough up what’s causing them to choke after five strikes, you’ll need to perform up to five abdominal thrusts.
Cuts – You need to stop the bleeding by applying hard pressure to the wound. You can use a bandage or a piece of clothing to soak up the blood as you press down but if there’s nothing suitable you can use, your hand alone will do.
CPR – If you’ve never seen the legendary Vinnie Jones CPR video you should definitely check it out. Doing chest compressions in time with Staying Alive mightn’t be conventional but it works.
Recovery position – While you wait for the paramedics, you should put the casualty in the recovery position as long as it’s safe to do so and they’re breathing. The recovery position makes sure that their airways remain open and clear. If they bring up any vomit or liquid it will spill onto the floor, rather than making them choke.
Gain more first aid knowledge
Going on a first aid course can teach you the four practices listed above and so much more. St John’s Ambulance are the biggest providers of first aid training in the UK and they offer a range of different courses so you can choose the one that’s most appropriate to you and your needs. If you’ve never been on a first aid course before, here are two courses that might be good for you to do:
Essential First Aid
This course teaches you the basics so that if you’re ever confronted with an incident at home, at work or out and about, you’ll know what to do until medical assistance arrives. It’s usually delivered in a two-hour session and the topics covered include:
- What to do when you arrive at the scene of an accident
- Keeping yourself (and the injured) safe
- How to resuscitate an adult and put them in the recovery position
- What to do if an adult is choking
- How to treat someone who is experiencing chest pains or a severe bleed
Baby First Aid
If you’re a new parent or grandparent, it’s important that you know what to do in case the worst happens and they fall ill or have an accident whilst in your care. This three-hour course will show you how to perform baby CPR and what to do if they’re choking, as well as:
- First aid for new-borns
- How to put a baby into the recovery position
- What to do if a baby is suffering from shock
- Treating a baby after a febrile convulsion
- Identifying symptoms of meningitis and other conditions
Depending on your job role, you might be legally obliged to study certain first aid courses. For instance, all childminders need to enrol on a paediatric first aid course to meet Ofsted requirements. Similarly, every business needs a certain number of staff to attend a fire marshal training course (number needed depends on the size of the business).
Making sure you’re prepared
As well as learning how to perform first aid, you should also get yourself a first aid kit if you don’t have one already. Having disposable gloves, scissors and sterile dressings close to hand can really help if you’re trying to deal with an emergency at home, at work or on the move.
Different first aid kits for different situations
At home – You should have a basic first aid kit (hidden out of reach of children) so that you can treat minor ailments and accidents. It should contain plasters, bandages, sterile gauze dressings, safety pins, disposable gloves and several other items.
At work – There are strict rules about safety at work so your workplace will have designated first aiders and at least one first aid kit. What is contained in the first aid kit will depend on the kind of incidents that may occur in your workplace and how many employees it’s designed to cover. For instance, if you work in a small office then a standard workplace first aid kit for up to 25 people may be adequate but if you work in construction or in catering, specialised first aid kits will be needed.
On the move – Ideally you should keep a basic first aid kit in the boot of your car, along with a blanket, warning triangle and a torch. A car first aid kit can be a real lifesaver if you ever have to deal with a car crash situation.
If you don’t have a first aid kit on you and you’re trying to help someone who is injured, you can always ask a passerby to get one from a nearby shop or business.
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