Basic First Aid Skills Everyone Should Learn
You can’t anticipate when a first aid emergency arises. It’s essential to be prepared.
Having knowledge of basic first aid skills can help save someone’s life, as well as your own. As specialist first aid training providers, ATR are here to educate you about some valuable skills you should consider learning.
Learning First Aid
Not everybody has to undertake years of first aid training to be able to deliver the right help when situations call for it.
For the vast majority of people, who aren’t community responders or healthcare professionals, they don’t need to know how to treat trauma injuries or, for example, get 100% in our FPOS-I training or FREC training courses. These are for experienced, front-line professionals.
Most people, however, would be best off learning some essential basic first aid safety training to ensure that any emergencies can be dealt with until an ambulance arrives.
Basic First Aid Training
ATR recommend you learn the first aid skills listed below.
1. CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)
Arguably the most important first aid skill is CPR. Learning CPR is something many people are somewhat familiar with; it involves providing artificial ventilation to preserve the life of an unconscious person, who isn’t breathing. Administering CPR can help a person’s blood circulation, brain responses, as well as regain consciousness and the ability to breathe. Learning CPR properly is invaluable and probably the most vital skill you can have in your repertoire.
If someone is having a seizure, you should not try and hold them still as it can cause serious injuries. You should cushion their head, remove any harmful objects nearby and aid breathing where you can by placing them in the recovery position, once they stop fitting. Do not try to move them, give them food or water or bring them round.
3. Treating burns and scalds
There are three degrees of burns, all of which require a different type of treatment. First and second-degree burns require topical remedies and may result in light blisters, while third-degree burns should be seen by a doctor.
Sprains are common injuries; the injured joint should be wrapped with a bandage and elevated until a medical professional can take a look. Using the ‘RICE’ framework (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is the best methodology here. Failing to do so can cause long-term damage to the tissue and cartilage.
You may find yourself having to close up a wound before medical help arrives. These situations may be rare, but it pays off to know how to stitch properly and safely.
6. Concussions and head trauma
Concussions are incredibly serious and require immediate attention. Check for dizziness, pupil dilation, coherence and other symptoms, as leaving a concussion untreated can have long-term effects on the brain. You should know how to spot the signs as soon as possible.
7. Broken bones
If someone near you has suffered a broken bone you should learn how to set a splint. A first aid course will teach you how to do this safely, as a splint will need to be set before moving the injured individual to minimise pain.
Someone goes into shock when their brain is not receiving enough blood, or perhaps because of an allergic reaction, accident, illness or infection. Someone in shock may look pale or feel dizzy, disoriented or faint. Have them lie still with their feet elevated, make sure they are warm and do not give them anything to drink.
Choking happens when someone’s airway is obstructed so they cannot breathe. If someone cannot clear their airway themselves by coughing or spitting an object out of their mouth, blows to the back should help dislodge the object. Severe choking can cause a person to become unconscious if they cannot speak, cough or breathe.
Abdominal thrusts (sometimes known as the Heimlich manoeuvre) involve standing behind the person who’s choking, placing your arms around their waist, bending them forwards, clenching a fist above their belly button (with your other hand resting on top of your fist) pulling sharply inwards and upwards. This should only be done as a last resort and should not, under any circumstances be performed on pregnant women or babies under the age of 1.
See paediatric first aid for more information.
10. Excessive bleeding
If someone is bleeding heavily, it’s important to stop it as soon as possible, as it could be from an artery or a vein. To help prevent heavy bleeding, elevate the wound above the heart and apply firm pressure with a clean compress, using a fabric item like a T-shirt, sock or cloth directly on the wound.
First Aid Courses with ATR