Everyday First Aid Advice

First Aid from the Red Cross

vintage-doctor-and-patient-first-aidThe first aid advice below should only be used to support and care for victims until trained emergency medicine providers arrive on scene. Learning how to care for someone injured to sick can help you lessen the impact of their situation. However, call 9-1-1 in any emergency situation.

First Aid for someone who’s unconscious and NOT breathing

Key skill: The delivery of chest compressions

  • Check breathing by tilting their head backwards and looking and feeling for breaths.
  • Call 911 as soon as possible, or get someone else to do it.
  • Push firmly downwards in the middle of the chest and then release.
  • Push at a regular rate until help arrives.

First Aid for someone who’s unconscious and breathing

Key skill: Place the person on their side and tilt their head back

  • Check breathing by tilting their head backwards and looking and feeling for breaths.
  • Move them onto their side and tilt their head back.
  • As soon as possible, call 911 or get someone else to do it.

First Aid for choking

Key skill: The delivery of back blows

  • Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades to dislodge the object.
  • If necessary, call 911 or get someone else to do it.

First Aid for someone who’s bleeding heavily

Key skill: Put pressure on the wound

  • Put pressure on the wound with whatever is available to stop or slow down the flow of blood.
  • As soon as possible, call 911 or get someone else to do it.

First Aid for burns

Key skill: Cool the affected area

  • Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.
  • Loosely cover the burn with cling film or a clean plastic bag.
  • If necessary, call 911 or get someone else to do it.

First Aid for a broken bone

Key skill: Immobilize the affected part

  • Encourage the person to support the injury with their hand, or use a cushion or items of clothing to prevent unnecessary movement.
  • As soon as possible, call 911 or get someone else to do it.
  • Continue supporting the injury until help arrives.

First Aid for a heart attack

Key skill: Ensure they are sitting and call 911 immediately

  • The person may have persistent, vice-like chest pain, which may spread to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.
  • Call 911 immediately or get someone else to do it.
  • Make sure they are in a position that is comfortable for them (e.g. sit them on the floor, leaning against a wall or chair).
  • Give them constant reassurance while waiting for the ambulance.

First Aid for a stroke

Key skill: Carry out the FAST test
Think F.A.S.T.

  • Face: is there weakness on one side of the face?
  • Arms: can they raise both arms?
  • Speech: is their speech easily understood?
  • Time: to call 911.
  • Immediately call 911 or get someone else to do it.

First Aid for seizures (epilepsy)

Key skill: Make them safe and prevent injury

  • Do not restrain them but use a blanket or clothing to protect their head from injury.
  • After the seizure, help the person rest on their side with their head tilted back.

First Aid for diabetes

Key skill: Give them something sweet to drink or eat

  • Give them something sweet to eat or a non-diet drink.
  • Reassure the person.
  • If there is no improvement, call 911 or get someone else to do it.

First Aid for an asthma attack

Key skill: Help them take their medication

  • Help the person sit in a comfortable position and take their medication.
  • Reassure the person.
  • If the attack becomes severe, call 911 or get someone else to do it.

First Aid for poisoning and harmful substance

Key skill: Establish what? When? And how much?

  • Establish what they have taken. When? And how much?
  • As soon as possible, call 911 or get someone else to do it.
  • Do not make the person sick or vomit.

First Aid for a head injury

Key skill: Apply something cold

  • Ask them to rest and apply a cold compress to the injury (e.g. frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel).
  • If they become drowsy or vomit, call 911 or get someone else to do it.