Responding appropriately in an emergency situation requires knowledge. Unfortunately, first aid know-how isn't something people are born with. It's up to you to improve your understanding and skills. Consider exploring some of these resources to learn more.
- Read a First Aid Guide: Most first aid kits come with a first aid booklet. These booklets provide instructions for responding to some of the most common first aid situations. First aid guides are useful for familiarizing yourself with the problems you're most likely to face in daily life. However, they can only take you so far. If you're already comfortable with first aid basics, you'll need to consult more detailed sources.
- Watch Videos Online: The internet is a great resource for learning more about first aid. A quick search will connect you with hundreds of videos demonstrating skills you may need. Online videos allow you to expand your knowledge in the comfort of your home. However, be wary. Only trust videos from reputable sources. If you're not sure about the information you're receiving, move on.
- Take an Online Course: An online first aid course will provide you with quality information presented in a clear, logical way. Completing such a course will make sure you encounter all of the information you need to be effective in a number of different situations. Some online courses may also offer certification tests, which may be mandatory for certain employment opportunities.
- Take an In-Person First Aid Course: There is no substitute for an in-person first aid course. An in-person course puts you face to face with an expert in the field, allowing you to ask questions and receive targeted guidance. Basic first aid courses are available in a number of places, including YMCAs, community centers, and pools. While this option will cost more than online courses, the hands-on experience makes the price tag well worth it.
- Become CPR Certified: Take your knowledge a step further by attending a CPR class. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is performed when someone has stopped breathing and doesn't have a pulse. A 1 to 3 hour course will teach you how to perform CPR correctly and safely. While this course does not go as in-depth as paramedic training, it does equip you with the information you need to save a life.
- Take a Targeted First Aid Course: Depending on your occupation and lifestyle, you may find yourself needing first aid training that goes above and beyond what you'd find in a basic course. A targeted first aid course will help you hone in on the skills that are most relevant. Courses in workplace safety, backpacking first aid, boating safety, first aid for mental health, and many other topics are commonly available.
Keep learning and refresh your knowledge regularly to make sure you know what to do if the unexpected strikes.
Your husband just fell off the ladder while changing a light bulb. What do you do?
Your neighbor’s dog just bit your child. What do you do?
Your co-worker is choking on his sandwich. What do you do?
Situations such as these may arise any time. Emergencies and accidents are just a part of life. But you don’t have to be the effect of them. You can be prepared by knowing some basic first aid techniques and having an emergency kit to hand.
What Is First Aid?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, first aid is “emergency care or treatment given to an ill or injured person before regular medical aid can be obtained.” This is the care you can provide immediately following the accident or emergency in order to minimize the damage. This care follows the main aims, also known as the “Three Ps”, of first aid.
What are the Three Ps of first aid?
- Preserve life. This is the overriding goal - to save life and minimize the threat of death.
- Prevent further harm. This means ensuring that the condition does not worsen or to avoid further injury. It covers everything from moving a patient away from the cause of the injury, such as a biting dog, as well as applying basic first aid techniques, such as putting pressure on a wound to stop excessive bleeding.
- Promote recovery. This involves implementing first aid techniques that would assist in the recovery process, such as covering a small wound with a bandage or giving pain-relief medication.
How can I be prepared?
The best way to be prepared is to take a first aid class. Contact your local hospital or community center for programs or suggestions. You can also find classes through the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and the National Safety Council.
There are many kinds of courses available. Choose one based on your needs, your budget and your time availability.
In addition to knowing basic first aid techniques, have a fully-stocked first aid kit in key places, such as your home, your car, and at work. This way you will have any supplies you might need to hand. The American Red Cross even offers a basic outline of emergency procedure which you can print out and keep handy with your first aid kit.
By doing these things you can be confident that you can calmly handle the situation should an emergency or accident occur.