First aid is a series of simple, life-saving medical techniques that a non-doctor or layman can be trained to perform. If you need to perform first aid, see Emergency Action Principles.
First aid is normally performed in medical emergencies, before the intervention of emergency medical technicians or doctors. Supplies useful in giving first aid are often kept together in a first aid kit.
It is best to obtain training in first aid before a medical emergency occurs. One needs hands-on training by experts to perform first aid safely, and recommendations change, so that training should be repeated every two years or so. Training in first aid is often available through community organizations such as the Red Cross. First aid instruction is a part of military basic training and the Scouting movement. In many countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, St. John Ambulance provides first aid training and in some countries operates Ambulance services. In the United States, the American Heart Association and American CPR Training also offer first aid training.
First aid is often taught as a four step process:
- Assess the accident scene for hazards to the victim or rescuer(s), and if necessary perform a protection (suppressing the risk, marking out the dangerous zone etc.)
- Assess the patient
- Call for help and activate the emergency medical services (EMS)
- Provide treatment to the limits of your training
(see also Emergency Action Principles). If you have no training, do nothing; that is, cause no harm. The basics are to assure a clear airway, continued breathing and circulation and close massive bleeding or sucking wounds.
Conditions that often need first aid
Providing first aid
Techniques and procedures of first aid