8 Basic First Aid Skills Everyone Can Benefit From

Your preparation could be the saving grace for an injured person or yourself. Whether you've saved their life or drastically reduced the potential for further peril, these skills are highly beneficial for everybody to know. There are even skills that you can teach your child at home.

Emergencies happen in the blink of an eye and usually when we least expect it. Relying on professionals to help during an emergency sometimes isn't an option. Often, performing CPR or stopping bleeding immediately can save somebody's life while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. We have emergency services in our communities but relying solely on that can be detrimental. Consider these factors that could affect the effectiveness of Emergency Medical Services:

  • If you're isolated and unable to contact help immediately.

  • Response times are too long because of your location.

  • Staff is fully dispatched and unavailable.

During an emergency, remembering everything you need to do when it comes to first aid can escape you. Print out guides and place them with your first aid kit and on your refrigerator in case of emergency.

Seeking out professional training is the best way to learn, however, any knowledge is better than none especially in emergency situations.

Listed below you'll see some essential life support skills you can learn more about.

1. Performing CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

CPR saves lives. It helps improve the odds of survival for somebody who is in cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping blood throughout somebody's body. Death can occur within minutes without treatment.

Most cases (about 70%) of cardiac arrests happen at home. Sadly, only about 50% of those in need are helped by bystanders before an ambulance arrives. For those that fear there may be legal repercussions to performing CPR, it should be noted that Good Samaritan laws offer protection for those who provide life saving assistance.

The First order of business when you see cardiac arrest happen is to have somebody call 9-1-1 right away and do CPR until medical professionals arrive or until somebody with formal CPR training can take over. At least perform chest compressions by utilizing the hands-only approach. Look for an automated external defibrillator (AED) because it can shock the heart and cause it to start beating again.

There are various types of CPR that are effective in treating cardiac arrest until help arrives and you don't need formal training to perform CPR however you should be educated on how to perform it properly and as safely as possible. The different types of CPR are:

  • Adult CPR

  • Hands-Only CPR

  • Child & Baby CPR

  • Pet CPR

The proper way to learn CPR is through hands-on skill practice.

2. Using An AED (Automated External Defibrillator)

Using a defibrillator goes hand in hand with CPR. When a victim is suffering from cardiac arrest, while CPR will allow their blood to keep flowing, an AED can restart their heart by shocking them.

Some AEDs have voice-guided instructions built-in to aid somebody who hasn't been formally trained

. Public places like schools, libraries, stores, and other businesses often have these on walls throughout their facilities.

3. Treating Burns

Professionals in the healthcare setting, firefighters, police, and others typically take CE courses to learn these skills however knowing the basics is highly beneficial during an emergency.

There are 3 classifications of burns.

  • First-degree: Can be treated with loose gauze and topical home remedies

  • Second-degree: Run the affected area under cool, but not too cold water, then treat the same as a first-degree burn.

  • Third-degree: If the burn extends below the dermis (top layers of skin) At this point, it is best to have this extreme burn treated at the ER immediately.

4. Checking Vital Signs

If somebody is unresponsive it is important to check their vital signs.

You can do this by first getting near them and loudly asking them if they can hear you. If they're unresponsive look at their chest and see if it's expanding and contracting with their breathing. Place your middle and index finger on the side of their neck or inner wrist to feel if their blood is pumping.

5. The Heimlich Maneuver

In 2019 over 5,000 people died from choking. There are things to do to help prevent people from choking but in the event that it does occur, knowing the Heimlich Maneuver can save a life.

Identifying if they are choking by asking them is the first step in helping. If they're holding their neck with one or both hands- assume that they are choking. If they're coughing and speaking do not give them CPR. If they're silent perform abdominal thrusts until the object is dislodged. Call 911 if they pass out and perform CPR until help arrives.

There are also methods to perform Heimlick's Manoeuver on yourself!

6. Treating A Sprain

We have all sprained our ankle one time or another... When our limbs or muscle joins twist and move in a way they're not accustomed to, a sprain occurs. When this happens the area needs support. Wrap the affected area with a bandage and keep it elevated and have emergency services look at it if necessary.

There is a method called RICE which includes, rest, ice, compression, and elevation in treating sprains. If a sprain isn't taken care of long-term cartilage and muscle tissue damage can occur.

7. Stopping Bleeding And Applying A Bandage

It only takes seconds for somebody to bleed out if their major artery is severed. Other injuries can result in death from blood loss as well. The first order of business is to have the bleeding individual lay down. Put on gloves and use a bandage or clean cloth to cover the wound or cut. After that apply pressure constantly to the affected area for about twenty minutes. Check if the bleeding has stopped.

If bleeding continues applying pressure to the main arteries can help stop the bleeding. For legs, pressure behind the knee can help mitigate bleeding. On the upper body, applying pressure between the elbow or armpit can be effective.

If this doesn't work then knowing how to utilize a tourniquet might be the next step to consider using until emergency services arrive.

8. Treating A Sting

It's important to note that not all bees lose their stinger when they sting you. First, look to see if the stinger is still inside your skin, then use something rigid like a card to scrape out the stinger. Refrain from pinching the stinger because you may spread the venom. Raise the stung area high in the air if possible and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling for about 10 minutes.

Keep your eye on the sting because of an allergic reaction that could occur. Symptoms to look for are wheezing or difficulty breathing, a swollen face, mouth, or throat, nausea or vomiting, a fast heart rate, dizziness or feeling faint, difficulty swallowing or becoming unresponsive.

Call 911 if the allergic reaction continues to escalate and utilize an EpiPen if they have one to treat their known history of anaphylaxis.


Comment below with some fundamental first-aid skills you believe are invaluable.

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