Emergency Preparedness: First Aid: First Priorities

Alright. Well now that we’ve done our first aid kits, let’s see if we can learn how to actually offer aid in an emergency situation. But first a DISCLAIMER, and an INTRODUCTION:

Disclaimer: Under no condition will I be held responsible for any consequences of use of this information. This information is meant as a tutorial, or study aid, and is NOT a first aid manual.
Introduction and Word of Advice: The First Aid information presented in this post and following first aid posts largely comes from a wonderful and helpful site called Survival Center. The information has been provided by someone who is a Certified First Aid Instructor with many years experience teaching first aid, CPR, and basic life support courses. That being said, this information is NOT meant to be a substitute for formalized first aid training. It is strongly recommended that if you are interested in learning first aid, you look into first aid and CPR courses offered through community groups and organizations.
Also, since the use of first aid skills is only needed from time to time, it is a good idea to review this content on a regular basis so that you don’t forget the valuable information.
And a big thank you to Captain Dave and Remo P.J. Tilanus for sharing this information with the rest of us!

Alright, and now that we’ve got the legal jargon said and done, let’s learn the first aspect of first aid, and that is understanding the Order of Treatment Priorities. The following information comes directly from the Survival Center:

Order of Priority in an Emergency

In EVERY emergency situation, there is a logical order to be followed. First, it is important to carefully assess the scene of an emergency BEFORE any further steps are taken. The purpose of this assessment is to assure it is safe to provide first aid care. For example, an unconscious victim might be lying on a livepower line. If a rescuer were to touch the victim before the power could be shut off, the rescuer would become a victim as well! Always be sure it is safe before you attempt to help a victim!

Once you determine it is safe for you to help a victim, you should immediately determine if the victim has any life threatening conditions.

Begin by checking to see if the victim is responsive. Kneel and ask, ” ARE YOU OK?” If there is no response, you must immediately summon an ambulance! Recent studies have conclusively shown that victims who are not breathing and do not have a heartbeat have a substantially greater chance for survival if they receive prompt advanced medical care in a hospital or by trained paramedics.

Only after a call is placed for emergency medical services does a volunteer attempt to further help an unconscious victim.

If there are bystanders on the scene, summon someone to your side to provide assistance.

If the victim is on his stomach, first place the victim’s arm closest to you above his head. Then turn him over by placing one hand on the victim’s hip and the other hand at the victim’s shoulder. Turn the body in a smooth, even straight line so as to not cause further injury in the event of existing spinal cord injury.

With the victim now on his back, OPEN THE VICTIM’S AIRWAY by placing the heel of your hand on the victim’s forehead and the tips of your fingers under the bony part of the jaw.

Push down on the forehead while lifting up the chin until the jaw is pointing straight up. Now place your ear over the victim’s mouth and LOOK, LISTEN & FEEL for breathing for 3 to 5 seconds. LOOK at the chest to see if it is rising, LISTEN for sounds of breathing and FEEL for air coming from the victim.

IF THE VICTIM IS NOT BREATHING, RESCUE BREATHING IS REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY!

IMPORTANT
WHILE THIS TUTORIAL IDENTIFIES LIFE THREATENING CONDITIONS REQUIRING RESCUE BREATHING OR CPR, THESE SKILLS REQUIRE INTENSIVE CLASSROOM SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND PRACTICE AND CANNOT BE EFFECTIVELY PRESENTED OR TAUGHT IN THIS TUTORIAL. THE AUTHOR STRONGLY ENCOURAGES EVERYONE TO ENROLL IN A CPR COURSE

Rescue breathing will provide vital oxygen to a victim who cannot breath on their own. After giving a victim two breaths, the pulse is checked at the Carotid Artery to ascertain if the victim has a heartbeat. This artery is located on the side of the neck and is found by first positioning the fingers on the victim’s Adam’s Apple, then sliding the fingers down into the soft groove on the side of the neck. The pulse is checked for 5 to 10 seconds.

If the victim has a heartbeat, but is not breathing, RESCUE BREATHING is required. If the victim is NOT breathing AND does NOT have a HEARTBEAT, CPR is required without delay!

These initial steps of checking the AIRWAY, BREATHING and CIRCULATION (pulse), together with a check for major BLEEDING, constitute THE PRIMARY SURVEY, which looks for life-threatening conditions!

In every instance where first aid is to be provided, it is important to always ask a conscious victim for permission to help them. If a victim is unconscious, it is presumed they have provided consent for you to assist them.

***

Okay! So hopefully that is helpful! Here are a few videos for you to watch as well to get a better idea of how this all works:

Please do not forget that this information does NOT replace formal training and does NOT make you certified in first aid. It is simply provided in the hopes that you can make an emergency situation better instead of worse.
I am making it a goal of mine for this year to get CPR trained. Feel free to join me in the goal! I’ll be sure to report back on how it goes. 🙂
Best Wishes!

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