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First Aid - All You Need To Know

Updated on September 24, 2019
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Metromain have several years experience in workshops and have done several courses in first aid regarding, plus volunteering in events.

Accidents can happen anywhere...

...in traffic, in workplaces, in the wild, at the beach...

And accidents don't takes vacation. It can happen anytime. Slippery ice and scorching sun. mid-day rides and late-night walks.

But fear not. All you need to know is that you have to dare to help. It's always better to do something than to do nothing. And you can't make it worse. If you try to help, you get to be a hero, even if things gets tragic.

So keep this article on hand. Bookmark it and read it every evening. When an accident happen, you don't have time to study.

First on an accident? Remember SSSH:

- STOP the accident and prevent more accidents.

- SAVE lives in immediate danger.

- SOS.

- HELP whit what you can in the wait for emergency personnel.

STOP the accident and prevent more accidents.

First thing on scene is to make sure no more injuries can occur or that the accident can't cause a chain reaction. But remember, never move anyone that complains about the slightest ache in back, neck or head unless you have to.

Is the accident on the road - Turn off the engine (leave the keys) and hazard-lights. Stop the traffic, tell the first car to turn on his hazard-light. In the case for fire or dangerous position (e.g. cars on the edge of falling), move the people away from danger.

Is the accident on a workplace (factory, shop, construction sites) Cut the power (emergency stop). Wash away chemicals. Knock people away from electricity. Put out fire. (In the case of electrical or fire, knock the person to save him is always an option. A broken rip is better than a cardiac arrest).

Is the accident in the forest - Kill or scare away dangerous animals (better killing a red-listed animal than rushing a person with a venomous bite/sting), remove fallen trees or stones, put out fires before they spreads.

Is the accident in the water - Save the drowning person


If you aren't alone at the scene, tell other to call the SOS emergency number as early as possible. Keep them informed as you take action.

SAVE lives in immediate danger.

Use the L-ABCDE method to decide your action-plan. Before anything, save the lives that are in mediate danger. As early as you can, have the SOS emergency number on the line and keep them informed about what you do.

And never move anyone that complains about the slightest ache in back, neck or head unless you have to.

L-ABCDE stands for:

Lethal situation, Save lives in immediate danger

Airways, Control if airways are open

Breathing, Is the person breathing correctly

Circulation, Blood, cardiac arrest

Disability, Shock, conscious, senses

Exposure, Whole body exam, prevent cold


Examine the scene and decide what that needs to be done right away for survival. Can the person get air and can breathe correctly? Are there any heavy bleeding, does the heart beats? Are the person responsive, unconscious or in shock? Are there anything else that needs your immediate attention?

Don't waste time! Anything you can do is worth doing.

SOS

By now you should have hit the phone and called your local emergency number for help. You should already know the number, but if you plan for going abroad, you may need to read up.

Naming a few of the largest countries:

(Complete list)

  • Australia - 000
  • Canada - 911
  • China - 110 (Fire 119, Ambulance 120)
  • France - 112 (Ambulance 15, Police 17 Fire 18)
  • Germany - 112 (Police 110)
  • India - 112 (Police 100, Fire 101, Ambulance 102)
  • Italy - 112 (Police 113, Fire 115, Ambulance 118, State Forestry Corps 1515, Coast Guard 1530)
  • Japan - Police 110, Coast Guard 118, Ambulance and Fire 119
  • Mexico - 911
  • Russia - 112 (Fire 101, Police 102, Ambulance 103, Emergency Gas Service 104)
  • Spain - 112 (Ambulance 061, Fire 080, Police 091)
  • Sweden - 112
  • United Kingdom - 112 or 999
  • United States - 911

HELP whit what you can in the wait for emergency personnel.

Continue with the L-ABCDE as you wait for EMT.

Lethal situation - Should have already been done.

Airways - Should have already been done as blocked airways are lethal.

Breathing - Continue with rescue breathing if necessary.

Circulation - Heavy bleeding needs constant pressure, take care of lighter bleedings. Continue with CPR if necessary.

Disability - Keep the unconscious person in recovery position. Keep company with the person in shock and keep them warm. Don't give them anything to drink.

Exposure - Anything else to do? Take care of burn-injuries, scrape-wounds, broken bones and sprained limbs.


And never move anyone that complains about the slightest ache in back, neck or head unless you have to.

First on scene: SSSH

Make an action-plan: L-ABCDE

EMT dispatching an injured at the hospital.
EMT dispatching an injured at the hospital.

Action-plan

What's probably the most important thing to do on scene is to figure out what to do and figure it out quick.

No accidents are the same, but you can learn what to do in general scenarios. Keep reading and I will present some scenarios.

A turn with low visibility does needs more attention while driving.
A turn with low visibility does needs more attention while driving.

In traffic

You are driving on a country road. You're catching up to a car that's driving slow and worry. The driver is probably sleepy. Suddenly he drives to near the edge and gets a wheel in the ditch. The driver looses control and drives of the road.

What do you do?


You park 2-3 car-lengths behind as near the side as you dare. Turn of the engine and puts on the hazard-light.

You try to get an overlook on the situation:

  • One car crash.
  • Unknown amount of people in the car.
  • The road is straight (high visibility).

You get out of your car, watch out for oncoming traffic (none yet). As the car crashed and needs to get towed, and people might be trapped inside, you dial 911/112. Tell the operator what you know so far.

The operator wants to know:

  • How many cars involved.
  • How many injured.
  • Are they breathing?
  • Are they bleeding?
  • Are they conscious?
  • Fire and/or smoke.
  • Which location?

As you walk closer, you can update. In the car there are three people, one male (driver), one female and a kid in the back-seat. Male driver got knocked by the air-bag, not breathing, got a pulse. Female is conscious, but bleeding from nose (from passenger air-bag), possible shock. Kid is crying and bleeding lightly from hairline (hit the head on what he was holding). No fire or smoke.

You put the operator on hold and try to contact the persons thru the windshield (so the don't need to turn their heads). You see that the driver is not responding, but the female are, and the kid is busy crying. You say that you will go to the side and that they should not turn their heads and sit still. You choose to go to the driver first as unconscious is a more priorities. The door is opening. You can't feel any breath. You ask the female if she got any ache in the back, neck or head. She says no slurry. She is in a shock. The kid is shifting back and forth, so he obviously got no struggle doing so. He is probably just scared from the crash.

You ask the female if she is cold as you take off your jacket. She is, so you offer her the jacket. As you can't ask the male if he got any ache, you don't want to move him as something might be broken. You tilt his head back and prop his head with your thumbs under both jaw-lines, starting rescue breathing. Two blows and check breathing with your cheek. As you do you speak calmly to the female and say that EMT is in the way. You get the male to breath, but is still unconscious.

You un-hold the operator to say what you just have done, still keeping the male's head tilted backward. Some other travelers have stopped at the scene and walks up to the car. One friendly looking female and a big muscular male. You tell the friendly female to get to the backseat and calm down the kid and wipe the blood. And the muscular male to get to the passenger-side and speak calmly, tilt her head backward and try to stop her nosebleed. They does and you never let go of the drivers head.

You all three stays on site until EMT arrives. EMT thanks all of you for your efforts. Everyone will survive because everyone dared to help and knew basic first-aid.

Take caution in work-shops and always wear recommended safety gears.
Take caution in work-shops and always wear recommended safety gears.

In a workplace

If an accident happens in a workplace, it can get very dangerous. But luckily, what you need to do is much clearer. And every workplace should do safety drills frequently.

You should always remember L-ABCDE, but if someone screams, checking airways isn't a priority, for example.

Following is a list of possible work-related accidents:

(Never work alone, ever.)

  • Burned on hot surface - Keep burned body-part under cold, running water as long as necessary.
  • Cut on sharp edge - Use a tourniquet. Call for EMT if it's severe.
  • Chemical burns - Use the emergency-shower. Undress during the shower. If the chemical got to the eye, rinse well. Call EMT always.
  • Electrical accident (Direct Current) - The person will get pushed away by his own muscle. Take a break and try to relax.
  • Electrical accident (Alternating Current) - The person will clench his muscle and get stuck. Hit the person with something non-conductive (wood, plastic, rubber). Don't be gentle, he might be holding at full strength. But don't touch him directly. Call EMT always as alternating current is very dangerous. CPR if necessary.
  • Grinding accident - If you are lucky, the grinder seals the wound and stop the bleeding. Then you take a break or call EMT if it's severe. If the grinder didn't seal the wound, Treat as a cut injuries.
  • Hit by falling objects - Get the objects away and treat potential bleeding. If something are broken or sprained, prop it up and call EMT. If something are dislocated, lay still and call EMT.

Grass snake. Some animals are camouflaged and is hard to notice.
Grass snake. Some animals are camouflaged and is hard to notice.

In the wild

Many things that could happen in the wild could also happen in a workplace. But the kind of accident that only happens in the wilds are animal attacks.

I'm sure about that there are many wilderness articles out there about what to do when you face dangerous, large, non-venomous animals. And treating bloody bites or tears should get treated like a cut-wound.

But what about the smaller ones with venom? Most likely are snakes and maybe spiders (if you are not in the tropics). What do you do when you and your pal is roaming the back garden woods, and you pal gets bitten by a snake.

What do you do?


The snake knows that a human is much bigger and stronger, so it won't be planning on eating or fight you. It will bite because it feels threatened and crawl away after.

Try to get a look on the snake before it crawls away. If you can't or you don't recognize it as non-venomous, call 911/112. The operator will ask about the snake so they can choose the right antidote.

Tell your friend to sit down and keep calm. Don't run away, or the venom will spread faster. Speak calmly to him. And don't try to suck out the venom, that is just stupid. Nor try to burn, freeze or stop blood circulation. Keep the bitten part still and high. Take of anything tight, like watches, rings and shoes before it gets swollen.

In this case, you get a clear look on the snake, but can't recognize it. To the operator you describe a black snake with shiny scales. The operator recognize it as a non-venomous, but knows that there is a venomous snake with the only difference is matte scales and a flatter head. The operator sends EMT by helicopter just to be safe.

Listen to you mother and don't go too near the water. Wet cliffs are slippery.
Listen to you mother and don't go too near the water. Wet cliffs are slippery.

Drowning

Water is no laughing matter. Water can be steam and burn you. Or water could be ice and crush you. And when water is fluid and enters the lungs, things gets serious. When a person is drowning, every seconds are important.

What do you do when you see someone slips on the wet cliffs and falls into the water without surfacing?


As stated before, every seconds are important. You needs to dive into the water right away. Jump in as you are, but if you can do it quick, remove your cellphone, car-keys and shoes. Those could be needed for calling for help, get to help or weight you down in the swim.

Always take caution when diving in unfamiliar water. But as this person are submerged, you could assume that its deep enough. Get to the person quick and get his head over water. Swim on your back with your legs back to the shore while holding the persons shoulder resting on your chest (there are courses to take in water-rescue).

Once you are on dry land, remember L-ABCDE. Check if the person are breathing, check the pulse. Are the person unconscious?

  • Unconscious, have pulse and can breathe - recovery position
  • Unconscious, don't breathing, have pulse - rescue breathing
  • Unconscious, don't breathing, no pulse - CPR

I say it once again, every second is important. When the person starts vomiting water, the worst thing are over.

And always call EMT.

All you need to know is that you have to dare to help. It's always better to do something than to do nothing.

Recovery Position

Place the person on his left side. Bend his knee on the top leg so he can't fall over. Rest his head on the bottom arm in a comfortable way. To free the airways, tilt his head backward and prop it with his hand on the top arm.

Recovery position visualized.
Recovery position visualized.

Rescue Breathing

Place the person on his back and tilt the head backward. Place your mouth over his mouth and squeeze his nose with your hand. Do two firm blows thru your mouth, then check breathing with your cheek as you look if his chest moves. Repeat until he can breathe on his own or someone else takes over.

Rescue breathing visualized.
Rescue breathing visualized.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Place the person on his back. Stand on you knees beside him as close as possible. Put your hands on top of each other on his chest between his nipples. Press with you whole body down 30 times. Alternate with rescue breathing. Best things are if you are two people helping.

CPR visualized.
CPR visualized.

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