Developing First Aid, common sense is an important part of providing first aid care. First Aid properly given can reduce the effect of injuries and medical emergencies can keep a seriously ill or injured person alive and can mean the difference between life and death; between rapid recovery and a long period of hospitalization, or between temporary disability and permanent injury. Proper first aid must be given quickly and effectively or the victim's condition may become more serious by the time further help arrives on the scene.
In the excitement of an emergency, it is important to stop for a moment to clear your head and think before you act. When responding to any emergency situation, remain calm and apply the four emergency action principles:
1. Survey the scene
2. Do a primary survey of the victim
3. Phone the emergency medical service or look for help
4. Do a secondary survey of the victim when appropriate
Survey The Scene - In responding to an emergency situation, make a quick survey of the entire scene. Do not only look at the victim, look at the area around the victim. This should take only a few seconds. Decide what to do next, consider the following as you do your survey:
. Is the scene safe - You must first decide if the situation is safe for you? You can not help a victim by becoming a victim yourself, know your abilities. If you cannot get to the victim because of hazards such as fire, toxic fumes, heavy traffic, electrical wires or deep swift moving river. Call emergency service or other services needed to handle the specific life threatening hazard.
. What Happened - If the victim is conscious, ask questions to determine what happened and the extent of the victim's illness or injury. If the victim is unconscious. Ask by-standers to look for clues. The scene itself often gives the answer.
. How Many People Are Injured - Look beyond the victim you see at first glance. There may be other victims.
. Are There By-standers Who Can Help - If there are by-standers, use them to help you find out what happened. By-standers though may not be trained in first aid, but can help you in other important ways such as calling medical attention, by offering emotional support to the victims.
Identify yourself as a person trained in first Aid. Tel the victim and the by-standers who are there, and that you are trained in first Aid, this may help to reassure the victim. It will also help you to take charge of the situation.
Do A Primary Survey Of The Victim - The purpose of a primary survey is to check the life threatening conditions and to give urgent first aid care. When you come to an accident that you didn't witness, you may find the victim moving. You must determine whether the victim is conscious and responsive or unconscious. You can generally tell if the person is responsive by gently tapping the person on the shoulder and asking "Are you Ok". Some injuries or illness may require assistance in caring for the victim or calling the emergency management services. If this is the case, you may need to shout several times to get someone's attention.
While you are seeking help continue the primary survey by checking for an open airway, breathing and circulation. This is called checking the ABC of first aid.
ABC Of First Aid
A = Airway
B = Breathing
C = Circulation
. For Airway - Opening the airway to allow unobstructed passage of fresh air to the lungs.
. For Breathing - Artificial ventilation to get air into the lungs of a casualty who has stopped breathing
. For Circulation - External chest compression to apply on the chest to compress the heart and to pump blood through the arteries to the vital organ. Controlling severe bleeding to prevent or minimize serious blood loss so that a casualty circulation can be maintained.
Phone The Emergency Medical Service - You can make the call to the medical unit yourself or give the responsibility to by-standers. Make sure that adequate and precise information is passed onto the medical team. This information will include:
- The location of the emergency (exact address, city/town, location landmark, name of building, floor apartment or room number)
- The telephone number being used
- The victim’s condition
- Number of victims
- The help being given
Do A Secondary Survey - The purpose of this is to check the victim carefully, from head to toe in an orderly manner for injuries or other problems that are not of an immediate threat to life but which could cause problems if not corrected. For example broken bone.
After completing the emergency action principles, you might consider transporting the victim to the hospital yourself if the victim's condition is not severe. This is an important decision. Do not transport a victim with a life threatening condition or one in whom there is any chance that a life threatening condition may develop. However, there may be some situations when an ambulance is not readily available. And you have to weigh the risks and consider taking the victim to the hospital. You must pay close attention to the victim and watch for any change in his or her condition.