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First Aid 20-569591 1-Hour Back to Course Index



thhdod651dLinda and her husband John were cleaning up yard debris after a recent hurricane.  Their eight-year-old son, David,   was in the family room along with their ten-year-old family dog Bennet.  David slammed into the sliding glass door with a thud loud enough to get Linda’s attention.  She saw the smear of blood on the glass.  Bennet had, without warning, attacked David.  David had tried to get away, but by the time Linda and John ran inside and pulled the family dog off of David, he had been bitten 48 times.  He was bleeding all over.  The pet was tossed into aside bedroom.  Linda was attempting to stop the bleeding while John called 911.  The dispatcher told John that with the recent storm, all of the emergency services were on call, and even if they were not due to downed trees and electrical lines, it would take several hours for them to arrive.  Linda and John quickly got their first aid kit and went to work. Later the pediatrician noted without their quick thinking and first-rate first-aid kit complete with glue, their child could have died from the injuries and infection.  They later found that their dog had a brain tumor that had caused unexpected behavior.

Knowledge of basic first aid can make the difference between life and death.  Several studies have shown that effective first aid can be vital in the first few minutes after an emergency. There are many stories in the media about first aid saving lives.

First aid is an important life skill. A first aid qualification can help your resume or even open up job opportunities. There are also opportunities to volunteer using your first aid skills.

Many are concerned about stepping up and then being responsible for things going wrong.  You are responsible for acting the way a reasonable person with your training level would.  No one expects you to give the level of care a professional gives, such as an EMS rescuer, a nurse, a physician, or other healthcare workers.  This course does not replace the need for a hands-on certification course, but it can help to serve as a refresher of information.

There are three main aims of first aid:

Preserve life: Your first aim is to preserve life by carrying out emergency first aid procedures (for example, opening a casualty’s airway or performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Prevent deterioration: Secondly, you should attempt to prevent the casualty’s condition from deteriorating further. This could include asking them to stay still to prevent the movement of possible fractures.

Promote recovery: Finally, you can promote recovery by arranging prompt emergency medical help. In addition, simple first aid can significantly affect long-term recovery from an injury. For example, quickly cooling a burn will reduce the risk of long-term scarring.


A person who is ill or injured has the right to refuse care.  If the victim is responsive, introduce yourself before you touch him/her.

  • If the victim agrees, you may give first aid.
  • If the victim refuses your help, phone 911 and stays with the victim until medical rescuers arrive.
  • If the victim is confused or cannot answer, assume that he/she would want you to help.

Protect Yourself:

As you approach the scene, you should think about the following:

  • Is there any danger for the rescuer?
  • Is there any danger for the victim?
  • Are there other people around who can help?
  • How many people are injured?
  • Where is the nearest telephone?
  • What is your location?
  • Will you need protective equipment?
    • Protective gloves
    • Eye Protection
    • Face Mask or Face Shield
    • Biohazard Waste Bag
    • Wash hands with soap and water

Taking Off Gloves Illustrations, Royalty-Free Vector Graphics & Clip Art -  iStock


Learning and practicing how to remove plastic gloves without getting bodily fluids all over yourself is important.  The first step is to grab the palm area of the glove on the other hand.  Pull the glove off from the palm piece.  Wad this into the palm of the gloved hand that pulled it off.  Then insert two fingers from the ungloved hand into the inside of the gloved hand at the wrist opening.  Pull the glove off, turning it inside out with the first glove still in the inside center.  Toss the gloves into a biomedical bag if possible.

When to Phone for Help:

You should phone the emergency response number or 911 and ask for help whenever someone is seriously ill or hurt or whenever you are not sure what to do.

If others are present, it is better to ask them to phone the emergency number and bring the First Aid kit while you give first aid to the victim.

If you are alone, shout for help while you begin to give first aid.  If no one answers your shout, leave the victim to phone 911.  Phone for help, get the First Aid kit and return to the victim.


After you have made sure the area is safe, you have to find out what the problem is before you give first aid.  Learn to look for problems in a certain order.

  1. When you arrive at the scene, be sure it is safe to go to the victim.  As you walk toward the victim, try to look for signs of the cause of the problem.
  2.  Check whether the victim is responsive.  Shake the victim gently and shout, “Are you OK?”
  • A responsive victim will respond in some way.
  • An unresponsive victim does not move or react in any way when you shake him/her.
  1.  Next, look to see if the victim is breathing normally.
  • With a responsive victim, you can just look to see if their breathing is normal.
  • With an unresponsive victim, you have to open the airway before you can check whether the victim is breathing.
  1.  Next, look for any obvious bleeding.
  2.  Look for a medical information bracelet or necklace.  It will tell you if the victim has a serious medical condition.

74 Woman Heart Attack Hospital Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock  Chest Pain and Heart Attack:

Signs of a heart attack may include:

  • An uncontrollable feeling in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that comes and goes.
  • An uncomfortable feeling in other areas of the upper body, such as one or both arms, the jaw, back, neck, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other signs, such as a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness

Signs of a heart attack in women, the elderly, and people with diabetes are often less clear.

If you suspect a heart attack, phone 911

  1.  Have the victim sit quietly.
  2.  Phone or have someone phone your company’s emergency response number.
  3.  Ask someone to get the AED and a First Aid Kit.
  4.  Be ready to do CPR and use the AED if the victim becomes unresponsive.



Fainting is a short period of unresponsiveness.  Before becoming unresponsive, the victim feels dizzy.  The unresponsiveness lasts less than a minute, and then the victim seems fine.

Fainting often occurs when the victim:

  • stands without squatting or bending down
  • receives bad news

If a person is dizzy but is still responsive:

  1.  Make sure the area is safe.
  2.  Help the victim lie flat on the floor.

If a person faints and then becomes responsive:

  1.  Ask the victim to lie flat on the floor until all dizziness goes away.
  2.  If the victim remains dizzy, raise the victim’s legs about 12 inches and keep them elevated until the victim is no longer dizzy.
  3.  Look for injuries caused by the victim’s fall.
  4.  Once the victim is no longer dizzy, help the victim to sit up very slowly and briefly remain sitting before slowly getting up.


Diabetes and Low Blood Sugar:

Low blood sugar can occur if a person with diabetes

  • has not eaten
  • has not eaten enough food for the level of activity
  • has injected too much insulin

Signs of low blood sugar can appear quickly and may include:

  • a change in behavior, such as confusion or irritability
  • sleepiness or even unresponsiveness
  • hunger, thirst, or weakness
  • sweating, pale skin color
  • a seizure

If the victim can swallow:

  1.  Give the victim something containing sugar to eat or drink
  2.  Have the victim sit quietly or lie down.
  3.  Phone or have someone phone 911

If the victim is unresponsive:

  1.  Phone or have someone phone 911.
  2.  Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink.
  3.  Do CPR as needed



Strokes occur when blood flow to a part of the brain is suddenly blocked.  This can happen if a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts.  The signs of a stroke are usually very sudden.

  1.  Ensure the area is safe, so the victim does not get hurt.
  2.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911.
  3.  If the victim is unresponsive, do CPR as needed.



During a seizure, the victim loses muscle control and may become unresponsive.  The victim usually has jerking movements of the arms and legs and sometimes other body parts.

  1.  Protect the victims from injury by:
    • moving furniture or other objects out of the victim’s way
    • placing a pad or towel under the victim’s head
  1.  Phone or have someone phone 911.


*Do not hold the victim down

*Do not put anything in the victim’s mouth


Bleeding You Can See:

>Remain calm

>Bleeding often looks a lot worse than it is.

>You can stop most bleeding with pressure.

Take the following actions to stop the bleeding that you can see:

  1.  Make sure that the area is safe for you and the victim.
  2.  Send someone to get the First Aid Kit.
  3.  Wear personal protective equipment.
  4.  If the victim can, ask the victim to put pressure over the wound with a large clean dressing while you put on gloves and eye shields.
  5.  You should be able to stop most bleeding with pressure alone.  Put pressure on the dressing over the bleeding area with the flat part of your fingers or the palm of your hand.
  6.  If the bleeding is from a wound on an arm or leg, raise the arm or leg so that it is higher than the chest while you continue to put pressure on the wound.  Do not raise the arm or leg if movement causes the victim pain.


*Do not remove penetrating objects

*When trying to stop a nosebleed, do not ask the victim to lean his/her head back.

*Do not use an icepack on the nose or forehead when trying to stop a nosebleed.



Shock develops when not enough blood flows to the body’s cells.


Feels cold and shivers

Feels weak, faint, or dizzy

Is restless, agitated, or confused


Feels thirsty

  1.  Be sure the area is safe for the victim.
  2.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911.
  3.  Help the victim lie on his/her back.
  4.  If there is no leg injury or pain, raise the victim’s legs about 12 inches.
  5.  Use pressure to stop the bleeding you can see.
  6.  Cover the victim with a blanket to keep the victim warm.


Bleeding you Can’t See:

A forceful blow to the chest or abdomen can injure the heart, lungs, liver, and other organs.  It can cause bleeding inside the body.  You may not see signs of this bleeding on the outside of the body at all, or you may see a bruise of the skin over the injured part of the body.

  1.  Make sure the area is safe for you and the victim.
  2.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911.
  3.  Keep the victim still and lying down.
  4.  Check for signs of shock and give first aid as needed.
  5.  If the victim becomes unresponsive, send someone to get the AED and begin CPR.


Head and Spine Injury:

The brain is very likely to be injured whenever a victim has a blow to the head.  The spine protects the spinal cord.  An injury to this may make it impossible for the victim to move.

  1.  Make sure that the area is safe for you and the victim.
  2.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911.
  3.  Do not allow the victim’s head or neck to move in any direction.


Injuries to Bones, Joints, and Muscles

  1.  Make sure that the area is safe for you and the victim, and get the First Aid Kit.
  2.  Cover an open wound with a clean dressing.
  3.  Check for signs of shock and give first aid as needed.
  4.  Don’t try to straighten any injured part that is bent.
  5.  Put a plastic bag filled with ice on the injured area with a towel between the ice bag and the skin.
  6.  Wrap an elastic bandage around an injured joint.
  7.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911 if there are:
  • a large open wound
  • the injured part is abnormally bent
  • you’re not sure what to do
  1.  The victim should not walk on an injured foot or leg until checked by a

     healthcare provider.


Heat burns can be caused by contact with fire, a hot surface, a hot liquid, or steam.

  1.  Make sure the area is safe for you and the victim, and get the First Aid Kit.
  2.  If the victim’s clothing is on fire, have the victim “stop, drop and roll.”  Cover the victim with a blanket and soak it in water.  Once the fire is out, remove burned clothing and jewelry from the burned area if they are not stuck to the skin.thzvvqi4tk
  3.  If the victim is unresponsive, begin CPR as needed.
  4.  If the burn area is small, cool it immediately with cold, but not ice-cold, water.
  5.  You may cover the burn with a dry, non-sticking sterile, or clean dressing.
  6.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911 if:
  • there is a fire
  • a victim has a large burn
  • you are not sure what to do


Bites and Stings:

Human and animal bites can be painful.  The wound can bleed and become infected when the edge punctures the skin.

  1.  Make sure the area is safe for you and the victim.
  2.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911 and get the First Aid Kit.
  3.  Clean the victim’s wound with soap (if available) and water under pressure from a faucet.
  4.  Stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure.


  1.  Back away from the snake or go around it.
  2.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911.
  3.  Ask the victim to be still and calm.
  4.  Gently wash the victim’s bite area with soap and water (if available).
  5.  If the bite was caused by a coral snake, apply mild pressure by wrapping several elastic bandages over the bite and the entire arm or leg.

DO NOT wrap the bite area with a dressing if any other snake causes the bite.


Temperature-Related Injuries:

Frostbite affects parts of the body that are exposed to cold weather.  Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls.  Heat-related emergencies result from exposure to extreme heat.

Signs of Frostbite:

  • The skin over the frostbitten area is white, waxy, or grayish-yellow.
  • The area is cold and numb.thxl6zveky
  • The area is hard, and the skin doesn’t move when you push it.
  1.  move the victim to a warm place
  2.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911 and get the First Aid Kit.
  3.  Remove tight clothing, rings, or bracelets from the frostbitten area.
  4.  Remove any wet clothing.
  5.  Do not try to thaw the frozen part if you are close to a medical facility or if there is a chance of refreezing.

Signs of Hypothermia:

  •      Shivering is present in mild hypothermia but stops when the hypothermia becomes severe.
  •      Confusion or a change in personality
  •      Muscles become stiff and rigid, and the skin gets cold and blue.
  •      The victim becomes unresponsive.
  1.    Get the victim out of the cold.
  2.    Keep the victim lying flat.
  3.    Replace wet clothing with dry clothing.
  4.    Phone or ask someone to phone 911.
  5.    Put blankets under and around the victim.  Cover the victim’s head, but not their face.
  6.    If the victim is unresponsive, begin CPR.

Signs of Heat-Related Emergencies:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness

Signs of Heatstroke:

  • Confusion or strange behavior
  • Inability to drink or vomiting
  • Red, hot and dry skin
  • Shallow breathing, seizures, or unresponsiveness
  1. Move the victim to a cool or shady area.
  2. Loosen or remove tight clothing.
  3. Encourage the victim to drink water.
  4. Sponge or spray the victim with cool water and fan the victim.
  5. Phone or ask someone to phone 911 if there are any signs of heatstroke and continue to cool the victim until rescuers arrive.
  6. If the victim becomes unresponsive, phone 911 and start CPR as needed.


Poison Emergencies:

A poison is anything someone swallows, breathes or gets in the eyes or on the skin that causes sickness or death.

  1.  Phone or ask someone to phone 911 and get the First Aid Kit.
  2.  Make sure the area is safe before you approach the victim.  If the area seems unsafe, do not enter.  Tell everyone to move away from the area.
  3.  Try to move the victim from the area of the poison if you can do it safely.
  4.  If a victim is unresponsive, begin CPR, but do not perform mouth-to-mouth breathing if the poison has contaminated the victim’s lips or mouth.
  5.  Wash or remove the poison from the victim’s skin and clothing if you can do so safely.
  6.  If you can identify the poison, send someone to get the MSDS.
  7.  When you know the name of the poison, call the nearest poison center for instructions on giving first aid.

To contact Poison Control, dial 1-800-222-1222


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