First aid is the first and immediate assistance given to any person suffering from either a minor or serious illness or injury, with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery. It includes initial intervention in a serious condition prior to professional medical help being available, such as performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while waiting for an ambulance, as well as the complete treatment of minor conditions, such as applying a plaster to a cut. First aid is generally performed by someone with basic medical training. Mental health first aid is an extension of the concept of first aid to cover mental health.
There are many situations which may require first aid, and many countries have legislation, regulation, or guidance which specifies a minimum level of first aid provision in certain circumstances. This can include specific training or equipment to be available in the workplace (such as an automated external defibrillator), the provision of specialist first aid cover at public gatherings, or mandatory first aid training within schools. First aid, however, does not necessarily require any particular equipment or prior knowledge, and can involve improvisation with materials available at the time, often by untrained people.
When you provide basic medical care to someone experiencing a sudden injury or illness, it’s known as first aid.
In some cases, first aid consists of the initial support provided to someone in the middle of a medical emergency. This support might help them survive until professional help arrives.
In other cases, first aid consists of the care provided to someone with a minor injury. For example, first aid is often all that’s needed to treat minor burns, cuts, and insect stings.
3 steps for emergency situations
If you encounter an emergency situation, follow these three basic steps:
1. Check the scene for danger
Look for anything that might be dangerous, like signs of fire, falling debris, or violent people. If your safety is at risk, remove yourself from the area and call for help.
If the scene is safe, assess the condition of the sick or injured person. Don’t move them unless you must do so to protect them from danger.
2. Call for medical help, if needed
If you suspect the sick or injured person needs emergency medical care, tell a nearby person to call 911 or the local number for emergency medical services. If you’re alone, make the call yourself.
3. Provide care
If you can do so safely, remain with the sick or injured person until professional help arrives. Cover them with a warm blanket, comfort them, and try to keep them calm. If you have basic first aid skills, try to treat any potentially life-threatening injuries they have.
This course is aimed at personnel who are required to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), in a range of situations, including community and workplace settings.
This course is aimed at personnel who are required to provide an emergency response in a range of situations, including community and workplace settings.
This course is aimed at personnel who may be required to provide a first aid response in a range of situations, including community and workplace settings.
This course is aimed at personnel who are required to provide a first aid response to infants, children and adults. It applies to educators and support staff working within an education and care setting who are required to respond to a first aid emergency, including asthmatic and anaphylactic emergencies.