First Aid Course Introduction

What is First Aid?

First aid is the provision of immediate care to a victim with an injury or illness, usually affected by a lay person, and performed within a limited skill range. First aid is normally performed until the injury or illness is satisfactorily dealt with (such as in the case of small cuts, minor bruises, and blisters) or until the next level of care, such as a paramedic or doctor, arrives.

Guiding Principles

The key guiding principles and purpose of first aid is:

  • Preserve life
  • Prevent further injury
  • Promote recovery

Teaching first aid  provides an opportunity for teaching safety, prevention and risk reduction measures, as part of the first aid curriculum.

Person trained in first aid can be taught to appreciate the importance of safety, prevention and risk reduction. This makes them an ideal advocate for spreading safety awareness to others in their organization or family.

Training programs are guided by OSHA standards but could vary from region to region, and we will highlight some of the main programs here.

First Aid/Emergency & Initial Action

Protect Yourself

First aiders are never required to place themselves in a situation which might put them in danger. Remember, you cannot help a victim if you become a victim yourself.

When called to a scene, remember that your own personal safety is above all else. Before you enter a scene, put on personal protective equipment, especially impermeable gloves.

As you approach a scene, you need to be aware of the dangers which might be posed to you as a first aider, or to the victim. These can include obviously dangerous factors such as traffic, gas or chemical leaks, live electrical items, buildings on fire or falling objects.

Always remember the big D for Danger.

Once you have assessed the scene for danger, you should continue to be aware of changes to the situation or environment that could present danger to you or your victim until you have left the scene.

If there are dangers which you cannot mitigate by your actions, then STAY CLEAR and call the emergency services. Remember to never put yourself in harm’s way.

As you approach the scene:

Assess the Scene – Where are you? Has anything here caused the injury?

Look for Clues – Things that could help you determine the reason for the patient’s illness or injury may be obvious.

Get some Information – If there are witnesses, ask them what’s happened

Look for obvious:

  • Bleeding, or wounds
  • Irregular skin color or body temperature
  • Medical ID bracelets or necklaces
  • Obvious signals of pain


Once you are confident that there is minimal danger to yourself in the situation, the next step is to assess how your victim responds to you.

. This is best as a form of greeting and question, such as:

  • Hello, I’m here to help you.
  • Are you alright?
  • What is your name?
  • Where do you feel pain?
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • Are you taking any medications?

If the victim looks at you spontaneously, can communicate (even if it doesn’t make sense) or seems to have control of their body, they can be assessed as Alert.

Key indicators on the victim are their:

  • Eyes – Are they open spontaneously?
  • Response to voice.
  • If the victim is not alert, assess vital life signs and act accordingly.
  • If you feel that there is a life-threatening emergency Always call 9-1-1 for life threatening emergency!

Remember that your own personal safety is above all else. Always use protective equipment, especially impermeable gloves.

Important Things To Remember:

  • DO NOT give care to a conscious person who refuses it.
  • If a person does not give consent and require assistance, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
  • If the conscious person is an infant or child, get permission from the parent or guardian.
  • If parent or guardian is not present consent applies
  • If the person is unconscious or unable to respond consent is implied.
  • Implied consent means you can assume that if the person could respond, he or she would agree to be cared for.

ALWAYS administer care in ways that protect you and the victim from disease transmission.

Whenever Possible:

  • Avoid contact with blood or other body fluids
  • Avoid touching objects that may be soiled with blood or other body fluids
  • Cover any cuts or scrapes on your body before putting on protective equipment such as gloves
  • Whenever Possible Use:
  • protective eye wear
  • resuscitation masks
  • face shields
  • disposable gloves

OSHA Standards

Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) required practices of infectious control to protect employees from exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials. These precautions require that all human blood and body fluids and body substances be treated as if known to be infectious with hepatitis B, C virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or other blood borne pathogens.

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