User Tools

Site Tools


First aid is medical care, generally provided by a layperson, as a first response to injury or illness. Its purpose is to preserve or save the life of the afflicted until such a time as a skilled medical professional can provide assistance. First Aid will is usually related to either circulatory system support (stopping the bleeding, check the pulse) and respiratory system support (make sure they're breathing, get them breathing if they are not) although it can take on other duties as well.


Refer to the first aid glossary for a list of First Aid/Medical terms and their definitions.

First Aid Techniques

First aid techniques are simple, yet very effective and possibly life-saving actions that can be performed by any able-bodied person. These most notably include skills like CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and others.


First aid is primarily concerned with the preservation of life through support of the respiratory and circulatory systems, to that end the “CAB's” or Circulation, Airway and Breathing are taught per the 2010 American Heart Association and American Red Cross First Aid/CPR Guidelines. Prior to these guidelines the “ABC's” of Airway, Breathing, Circulation were used.

;C :Circulation is generally the first thing checked through a brief initial assessment. If the patient is not breathing or if agonal breathing is present activate EMS and begin CPR.

;A :All humans require a clear airway to breathe. Possible causes of airway restriction include restriction of the trachea, “swallowing” of the tongue, vomit, food, or any of many other possible objects. Reposition the head and clear the airway of obstructions to allow for spontaneous respiration or artificial respiration.

;B :If the airway is clear the next step is to check the subject respiration, make sure that they are breathing. If they are not then rescue breaths may need to be performed. Breathing also includes trauma to the lungs, such as sucking chest wound since it collapses the lung.


CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is perhaps the best known and most widely taught first aid technique. CPR is performed to support the respiration and circulation of someone who has stopped breathing and/or has no pulse by using chest compressions and artificial respiration (mouth-to-mouth). The purpose of CPR is not to restart the patient's breathing or pulse, but rather to keeping oxygenated blood flowing to the brain until defibrillation can be performed by medical professionals or an AED (automated external defibrillator) becomes available. Take a CPR class and get certified in adult and infant CPR as well as AED! Also, keep in mind that CPR and AED standards change frequently according to current medical standards, so yearly refresher courses should be considered.

Heimlich Maneuver

The Heimlich maneuver is a simple procedure to expel an object from the trachea of a choking individual by compressing the abdomen/diaphragm which in turn compresses the lungs causing a volume of high-pressure air to force out the obstruction. To perform this technique, position yourself behind the patient and wrap your arms around their midsection below their armpits. Make a fist with one hand and place that fist, with the thunb facing the patient, just below the bottom edge of the bone in the center of the patient's chest. Place the palm of your other hand over your fist, cupping the fist. Quickly and firmly pull in and up to force the diaphragm up. Continue until the obstruction is expeled or the patient loses consciousness, at which time you should ease them down to the ground and perform chect compressions instead until the obstruction is expeled. You may need to sweep the obstructing material from the mouth of the patient after it dislodges from the airway. Continue to monitor the patients CAB's, performing CPR if needed, until someone with more advanced medical training arrives.

Recovery Position

The recovery position is a simple positioning of the body that helps to facilitate recovery and the stable condition of an unconscious patient through encouraging stillness and breathing. The position also allows fluids to drain from the patient's mouth and nose thus reducing the risk of an airway obstruction or aspiration of said fluids in an unconscious patient. To place a patient in the recovery position, lay them on their left side, with their head in a neutral position, and their left arm bent at the elbow with the left hand tucked under the left side of their head. The left leg should be striaght and the right leg bent at the knee with the right knee touching the ground in front of the left knee to help them stay in the position. NOTE: If a spinal injury is suspected, the patient should not be put in this position as it may contribute to further injury of the spine through movement of the spine from the neutral inline position. In such a situation, the patient should be placed on their back by moving their body as a whole if at all possible then a rescuer should position themselves at the head of the patient and place either their knees or their hands on each side of the patients head to maintain a neutral position of the head and spine. This protection of the spine should be performed unless there is an immediate threat to the patient's CAB's that could lead to death if not immediately addressed. Life takes presidence over limb. To clear the airway, the patient would be rolled briefly on their side while maintaining alignment of the head and spine.


Triage, which is the sorting, prioritizing, and selecting of patients to be treated according to various factors such as severity of condition; is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks a first aid provider may have to deal with. Depending on the situation you may select the most severely injured, the most likely to survive, the most treatable, or the most important to the survival of the group such as the leadership. Triage cannot be taken lightly, but you should do your best to perform the tasks with some objectivity. Color coded tags are commonly to mark the casualties that have been sorted. The tags can be formal slips of paper or something improvised quickly like different colored electrical tape.

  • The four colors of triage:

:{| cellpadding=“4” cellspacing=“0”

style=“background:black; color:white;”
style=“background:black; color:white;” Expectant
style=“background:red; color:white;”
style=“background:red; color:white;”Immediate
style=“background:yellow; color:black;”
style=“background:yellow; color:black;”Delayed
style=“background:green; color:white;”
style=“background:green; color:white;”Minimal

First Aid Kit

While some first aid procedures can be performed without any tools or equipment, having a first aid kit (FAK) can greatly increase the number of actions you can take and the effectiveness with which they can be performed.

Injuries and Ailments

The scope of first aid is limited compared to the rest of medicine due to limitations of the skills and equipment of lay people and first responders, so anyone interested in first aid or preparing a FAK should be aware of what injuries and ailments they wish to be prepared to treat and under what conditions.

Survival Psychology

While not exactly first aid, during an emergency or survival situation some psychology may need to be employed. A person who is overcome with grief at the loss of a loved one, shocked by the effects of a disaster, or otherwise in a debilitating frame of mind is at far greater risk than someone who is focused and determined. Having a basic understanding of how to get someone to “snap out of it” or otherwise rapidly deal with a psychological issue could save lives. A professional psychologist can help a person “deal” with their issues in a more complete way later, during a disaster it is more important that they keep functioning. Remember that your mind is the number one tool in any survival situation. Panic will only compound the situation.

See Also



First Aid Invest in tangibles

Snippet from Wikipedia: First aid

First aid is the first and immediate assistance given to any person suffering from either a minor or serious illness or injury, with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery. It includes initial intervention in a serious condition prior to professional medical help being available, such as performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while waiting for an ambulance, as well as the complete treatment of minor conditions, such as applying a plaster to a cut. First aid is generally performed by someone with basic medical training. Mental health first aid is an extension of the concept of first aid to cover mental health, while psychological first aid is used as early treatment of people who are at risk for developing PTSD. Conflict First Aid, focused on preservation and recovery of an individual's social or relationship well-being, is being piloted in Canada.

There are many situations which may require first aid, and many countries have legislation, regulation, or guidance which specifies a minimum level of first aid provision in certain circumstances. This can include specific training or equipment to be available in the workplace (such as an automated external defibrillator), the provision of specialist first aid cover at public gatherings, or mandatory first aid training within schools. First aid, however, does not necessarily require any particular equipment or prior knowledge, and can involve improvisation with materials available at the time, often by untrained people.

First aid can be performed on nearly all animals, such as first aid for pets, although this article relates to the care of human patients.

corpsman gives first aid to an injured Iraqi citizen]]

First aid is the provision of initial care for an illness or injury. It is usually performed by non-experts (or sometimes by an expert in case of an emergency), but trained personnel to a sick or injured person until definitive medical treatment can be accessed. Certain self-limiting illnesses or minor injuries may not require further medical care past the first aid intervention. It generally consists of a series of simple and in some cases, potentially life-saving techniques that an individual can be trained to perform with minimal equipment.

While first aid can also be performed on all animals, the term generally refers to care of human patients.


The instances of recorded first aid were provided by religious knights, such as the Knights Hospitaller, formed in the 11th century, providing care to pilgrims and knights, and training other knights in how to treat common battlefield injuries.<ref name=medicinenet>First Aid: From Witchdoctors & Religious Knights to Modern Doctors, retrieved March 23, 2011.</ref> The practice of first aid fell largely into disuse during the High Middle Ages, and organized societies were not seen again until in 1859 Jean-Henri Dunant organized local villagers to help victims of the Battle of Solferino, including the provision of first aid. Four years later, four nations met in Geneva and formed the organization which has grown into the Red Cross, with a key stated aim of “aid to sick and wounded soldiers in the field”.<ref name=medicinenet/> This was followed by the formation of St. John Ambulance in 1877, based on the principles of the Knights Hospitaller, to teach first aid, and numerous other organization joined them with the term first aid first coined in 1878 as civilian ambulance services spread as a combination of “first treatment” and “national aid”<ref name=medicinenet/> in large railway centres and mining districts as well as with police forces. In 1878 Surgeon-Major Peter Shepherd, together with Colonel Francis Duncan established the concept of teaching first aid skills to civilians. Shepherd, together with a Dr Coleman, conducted the first class in the hall of the Presbyterian school in Woolwich using a comprehensive first aid curriculum that he had developed. It was Shepherd who first used the English term “first aid for the injured”<ref>. The earliest days of first aid John Pearn BMJ 1994;309:1718 20</ref> First aid training began to spread through the empire through organisations such as St. John, often starting, as in the UK, with high risk activities such as ports and railways.<ref>Industrial Revolution: St. John Ambulance, retrieved December 10, 2006.</ref>

Many developments in first aid and many other medical techniques have been driven by wars, such as in the case of the American Civil War, which prompted Clara Barton to organize the American Red Cross.<ref>American Red Cross -- Museum, retrieved March 23, 2011.</ref> Today, there are several groups that promote first aid, such as the military and the Scouting movement. New techniques and equipment have helped make today’s first aid simple and effective.


The key aims of first aid can be summarized in three key points:-<ref>


  • Preserve life: the overriding aim of all medical care, including first aid, is to save lives and minimise the threat of death.
  • Prevent further harm: also sometimes called prevent the condition from worsening, or danger of further injury, this covers both external factors, such as moving a patient away from any cause of harm, and applying first aid techniques to prevent worsening of the condition, such as applying pressure to stop a bleed becoming dangerous.
  • Promote recovery: first aid also involves trying to start the recovery process from the illness or injury, and in some cases might involve completing a treatment, such as in the case of applying a plaster to a small wound.

First aid training also involves the prevention of initial injury and responder safety, and the treatment phases.

Key skills

Certain skills are considered essential to the provision of first aid and are taught ubiquitously. Particularly the “ABC“s of first aid, which focus on critical life-saving intervention, must be rendered before treatment of less serious injuries. <!– Before editing this section to change circulation to Compressions, please read the article at ABC (medicine) –>ABC stands for Airway, Breathing, and Circulation.<!– Before editing this section to change Circulation to Compressions, please read the article at ABC (medicine) –> The same mnemonic is used by all emergency health professionals. Attention must first be brought to the airway to ensure it is clear. Obstruction (choking) is a life-threatening emergency. Following evaluation of the airway, a first aid attendant would determine adequacy of breathing and provide rescue breathing if necessary. Assessment of circulation is now not usually carried out for patients who are not breathing, with first aiders now trained to go straight to chest compressions (and thus providing artificial circulation) but pulse checks may be done on less serious patients.

Some organizations add a fourth step of “D” for Deadly bleeding or Defibrillation, while others consider this as part of the Circulation step. Variations on techniques to evaluate and maintain the ABCs depend on the skill level of the first aider. Once the ABCs are secured, first aiders can begin additional treatments, as required. Some organizations teach the same order of priority using the “3Bs”: Breathing, Bleeding, and Bones (or “4Bs”: Breathing, Bleeding, Brain, and Bones). While the ABCs and 3Bs are taught to be performed sequentially, certain conditions may require the consideration of two steps simultaneously. This includes the provision of both artificial respiration and chest compressions to someone who is not breathing and has no pulse, and the consideration of cervical spine injuries when ensuring an open airway.

Preserving life

In order to stay alive, all persons need to have an open airway—a clear passage where air can move in through the mouth or nose through the pharynx and down into the lungs, without obstruction. Conscious people will maintain their own airway automatically, but those who are unconscious (with a GCS of less than 8) may be unable to maintain a patent airway, as the part of the brain which automatically controls breathing in normal situations may not be functioning.

If the patient was breathing, a first aider would normally then place them in the recovery position, with the patient leant over on their side, which also has the effect of clearing the tongue from the pharynx. It also avoids a common cause of death in unconscious patients, which is choking on regurgitated stomach contents.

The airway can also become blocked through a foreign object becoming lodged in the pharynx or larynx, commonly called choking. The first aider will be taught to deal with this through a combination of ‘back slaps’ and ‘abdominal thrusts’.

Once the airway has been opened, the first aider would assess to see if the patient is breathing. If there is no breathing, or the patient is not breathing normally, such as agonal breathing, the first aider would undertake what is probably the most recognized first aid procedure—cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR, which involves breathing for the patient, and manually massaging the heart to promote blood flow around the body.

Promoting recovery

The first aider is also likely to be trained in dealing with injuries such as cuts, grazes or bone fracture. They may be able to deal with the situation in its entirety (a small adhesive bandage on a paper cut), or may be required to maintain the condition of something like a broken bone, until the next stage of definitive care (usually an ambulance) arrives.

==Training==<!– the country sub-sections are in alphabetic order –>

Basic principles, such as knowing to use an adhesive bandage or applying direct pressure on a bleed, are often acquired passively through life experiences. However, to provide effective, life-saving first aid interventions requires instruction and practical training. This is especially true where it relates to potentially fatal illnesses and injuries, such as those that require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); these procedures may be invasive, and carry a risk of further injury to the patient and the provider. As with any training, it is more useful if it occurs before an actual emergency, and in many countries, emergency ambulance dispatchers may give basic first aid instructions over the phone while the ambulance is on the way.

Training is generally provided by attending a course, typically leading to certification. Due to regular changes in procedures and protocols, based on updated clinical knowledge, and to maintain skill, attendance at regular refresher courses or re-certification is often necessary. First aid training is often available through community organizations such as the Red Cross and St. John Ambulance, or through commercial providers, who will train people for a fee. This commercial training is most common for training of employees to perform first aid in their workplace. Many community organizations also provide a commercial service, which complements their community programmes.


In Australia, nationally-recognized first aid certificates may only be issued by registered training organisations that are accredited on the National Training Information System (NTIS). Courses are based on the delivery and assessment of units of competency from various training packages.<ref></ref> Most first aid certificates are issued at one of three levels::

  • Provide Basic Emergency Life Support. Formerly Level 1 (or “Basic First Aid”, or “Basic Life Support”) this is a 1-day course covering primarily life-threatening emergencies. It involves the training and assessment of HLTFA201A from the HLT07 Health Training Package<ref name=“”>NTIS Health Training Package -</ref>
  • Apply First Aid. Formerly Level 2 (“Senior First Aid”) is either a 2-day face to face course or 1 day face to face combined with 4 - 8 theory work at home or online. It involves the delivery and assessment of HLTFA301B Apply First Aid. It covers all the aspects of training in “Provide Basic Emergency Life Support, as well as specialized training for treatment of burns, bites, stings, electric shock and poisons and the use of an AED. Apply First Aid must be re-accredited every three years to remain current for use in the workplace<ref>For example in New South Wales -</ref> Reaccreditation of the CPR component (HLTFACPR201)<ref name=“”/> is generally required annually, although individual states set the specific requirements.
  • Apply Advanced First Aid. Formerly Level 3 (“Occupational First Aid”) is a one day course covering advanced first aid, use of oxygen and automated external defibrillators and documentation. It is suitable for workplace first aiders and those who manage first aid facilities. It is based on the training and assessment of a group of units of competency - HLTFA301B Apply first aid, HLTFA402B Apply advanced first aid and HLTFA403A Manage first aid in the workplace - that are generally delivered together.

Other courses outside these levels are commonly taught, including CPR-only courses, Advanced Resuscitation, Remote Area or Wilderness First Aid, Administering Medications (such as salbutamol or the EpiPen) and specialized courses for parents, school teachers, community first responders or hazardous workplace first aiders. CPR Re-accreditation courses are sometimes required yearly, regardless of the length of the overall certification.


In Canada, first aid certificates can be issued under the auspices one of four training organizations that authorize 'course providers' to provide their particular “brand” of first aid training in up to ten provinces and three territories (thus, nationally): Canadian Red Cross Society, (Royal)Lifesaving Society (Canada), St. John Ambulance, and Canadian Ski Patrol. Besides first aid courses for the general public, such as “Emergency” and “Standard” first aid, which incorporates and includes CPR, most of these organizations also administer more specialized training, for example “Aquatic Emergency Care” for life guards (Lifesaving Society), “Wilderness First Aid” (St. John Ambulance), first aid that meets regulations for employment as a child care worker (Cdn. Red Cross Society) and first aid training that meets regulations for first aid attendants employed in the workplace.

Workplaces can come under occupational health and safety and insurance regulations that are either provincial (e.g. construction work sites) or federal (e.g. air, rail or marine transportation). Therefore, these national first aid training organizations offer workplace first aid training that complies with the specific training requirements, standards and syllabi set either by a given province or else by the particular federal regulatory requirement (for example, maritime industry first aid for ships crew and officers, or commercial aviation first aid for air transport crew such as airline flight attendants and pilots.

First aid training leading to certification that meets provincial workplace standards can also be offered through private training companies that have to be accredited and authorized by the relevant provincial regulatory agency or ministry. For example, the British Columbia provincial Workers Compensation Board (Worksafe BC) sets out OFA Occupational First Aid training and certification standards and requirements at 3 levels ranging from 8 to more than 40 hours.

Beyond 'first aid' training and certification are standards for 'pre-hospital care' such as 'first responder', 'emergency medical responder', paramedic and other titles. For example, fire-rescue personnel and paramedical personnel provide care that goes beyond 'first aid'. Yet a police officer might only be required to hold a first aid, not a pre-hospital care first aid 'ticket' as part of his or her current qualification. The military train in first aid and pre-hospital emergency care that is oriented to combat and other military situations and environments.

The training syllabi (course content) for “Emergency” First Aid (around 8 hours; 8 hours when recertifying; basically CPR along with treatment for shock and a few other life threatening conditions such as anaphylaxis and severe bleeding) and “Standard” First Aid (around 16 hours, but 8 hours to recertify within a certain recurrency period - otherwise re-do the 16 hours) are set out by Health Canada, a federal department of the Government of Canada which accredits a training organization as a course provider of these two basic certificates, needed by those people employed in federally regulated workplaces.

Workplace safety regulations and standards for first aid vary by province depending on occupation. However, as some occupations are governed by federal, not provincial, workplace safety regulations, such as the transportation industry (marine, aviation, rail), trainees need to confirm with their employer as to exactly what specific training and certification standards comply with the applicable regulatory agencies, federal or provincial.

  • Emergency First Aid: is an 8-hour course covering primarily life-threatening emergencies: CPR, bleeding, choking and other life-threatening medical emergencies.
  • Standard First Aid: is a 16-hour course that covers the same material as Emergency First Aid and will include training for some, but not all, of the following: s; burns; poisons, bites and stings; eye injuries; head and neck injuries; chest injuries; wound care; emergency child birth; and multiple casualty management.

CPR certification in Canada is broken into several levels. Depending on the level, the lay person will learn the basic one-person CPR and choking procedures for adults, and perhaps children, and infants. Higher-level designations also require two-person CPR to be learned. Depending on provincial laws, trainees may also learn the basics of automated external defibrillation (AED).<ref name=””>


  • Level A is the lowest level of CPR training. Trainees learn how to perform the standard one-rescuer CPR and choking procedures on adults.
  • Level B requires the same procedures as Level A, but trainees learn to perform these maneuvers on children and infants in addition to adults.
  • Level C requires the same maneuvers as Level B, and trainees are also taught how to perform two-person CPR.
  • Level HCP (Health Care Professional) was introduced in Canada in response to new guidelines set by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation.<ref name=“ILCOR”>

    </ref> In addition to the techniques taught in Level C, artificial resuscitation, AED use (to certification standards), and bag-valve-mask use is taught. Anyone with CPR-HCP certification is considered AED certified.


In France, first aid certificates are delivered by organisations that are approved by the Minister of the Interior, following the official national reference document (Référentiel national, RN). There are about 20 approved associations (Croix-rouge française, Fédération Nationale de Protection Civile, Fédération des secouristes français Croix-Blanche, Œuvres hospitalières françaises de l'ordre de Malte, Union nationale de protection civile, Association nationale des premiers secours, …); many administrations — army, fire services, national education, … — are also approved.

  • at school: basics must be taught at the primary school
    • grande das. Tou

section de maternelle (5 years old): to detect a danger, to look for an adult, ** cours élémentaire 1 (CE1, 7 years old): to protect oneself, to call for help, ** cours moyen 2 (CM2, 10 years old): to make a complete phone call, to place a casualty in an adapted position (sitting, lying, recovery position);

  • at the Journée défense et citoyenneté (Information to the army careers): IAPS, Initiation à l'alerte et aux premiers secours (initiation to call for help and first aid)
    • Securing.
    • Calling for help.
    • The casualty is not alert (recovery position).
    • The casualty is not breathing (CPR, AED).
  • PSC1: Prévention et secours civiques de niveau 1 (Prevention and civic aid, level 1): 10 hours,
    • Securing (including emergency casualty movement).
    • Calling for help.
    • The casualty is choking.
    • The casualty bleeds deadly.
    • The casualty is not alert (recovery position).
    • The casualty is not breathing (CPR, AED, including children and babies).
    • The casualty complains about illness (including strokes and heart infarction).
    • The casualty complains after a trauma (burns, wounds, broken bones, joint sprains and dislocations).
  • SST: Sauvetage-secourisme du travail (first aid at work): similar to PSC1, with a study of the specific risks of the activity of the worker;
  • PSE: premiers secours en équipe (team first aid, certified first responders):


In Ireland, the workplace qualification is the Occupational First Aid Certificate. The Health and Safety Authority issue the standards for first aid at work and hold a register of qualified instructors, examiners and organisations that can provide the course. A FETAC Level 5 certificate is awarded after passing a three-day course and is valid for two years from date of issue. Occupational First Aiders are more qualified than Cardiac First Responders (Cardiac First Response and training on the AED is now part of the OFA course) but less qualified than Emergency First Responders but strangely Occupational First Aid is the only one of the three not certified by PHECC. Organisations offering the certificate include, Ireland's largest first aid organisation, the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps, the St John Ambulance Brigade, and the Irish Red Cross. The Irish Red Cross also provides a Practical First Aid Course aimed at the general public dealing primarily with family members getting injured. Many other (purely commercially run) organisations offer training.


In Russia, first aid education is mandatory for police officers, rescues and EMERCOM staff. In secondary school, teenagers are trained in basic first aid skills. Adults can be trained in commercial organizations. Such training is based on the international guidelines, there are no country-specific guidelines for first aid in Russia. Providing first aid to the victims is the right of every man, but medications can be used by certified ambulance crews, physicians and hospital staff only. There are no national first aid certificates in Russia.


In Singapore, the workplace qualification is the Occupational First Aid Certificate. The Ministry of Manpower (Singapore) issue the standards for first aid at work and qualifies first aid instructors, occupational nurses and doctors and registered safety officers as examiners and organisations that can provide the course. Instructors are required to undergo an ACTA certification, a nationally recognised training standard endorsed by the Workforce Development Agency. Workplaces with more than 25 employees are required to have certified Occupational First Aiders. The Occupational First Aid Course recently incorporated a CPR and AED segment which is accredited by the National Resuscitation Council of Singapore and is valid for 2 years. Occupational First Aiders learn more workplace related topics than Cardiac First Responders and is the industry standard in Singapore. However, they may be less qualified than EMTs.Also in schools basic training is given of first aid.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands basic level lay firstaid training is mostly provided by the Dutch Red Cross, local Lifeguard organizations, first aid association or commercial companies. First aiders are mostly certified by the “Dutch Red Cross” and the foundation “Het Oranje Kruis”. The foundation “LPEV” certifies mainly advanced and first responder level' firstaid training.

Medical firstaid must always be provided by certified ambulance crews, physicians and hospital staff.

United Kingdom

In the UK, as well as general and practical first aid courses for the public environment, there are also two main types of first aid courses offered for the workplace environment as required by the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981; Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work. An “Emergency First Aid at Work” course typically lasts one day, and covers the basics, focusing on critical interventions for conditions such as cardiac arrest and severe bleeding, and is usually not formally assessed. A “First Aid at Work” course is usually a three-day course (two days for a re-qualification) that covers the full spectrum of first aid, and is formally assessed by recognized Health and Safety Executive assessors. Certification for the “First Aid at Work” course are issued by the training organization and are valid for a period of three years from the date the delegate qualifies.<ref>example of First Aid at Work Sylabus</ref> Other first aid courses offered by the major UK training organizations such as St. John Ambulance, St Andrew’s First Aid or the British Red Cross include Sports First Aid, Baby and Child courses, manual handling, people moving, and courses geared towards more advanced life support, such as defibrillation and administration of medical gases such as oxygen and entonox.

The British Armed Forces use First Aid ranging from levels 1–3, to assist the medical staff on their Ship, Squadron, Section, Base or any other purpose required. They are trained in both Military (battlefield injuries) and Civilian First Aid and often utilise their knowledge in aid stricken regions around the world. First Aid is vital on board warships because of the number of people in a small area and the space given to perform their task, it is also vital for the Army and Royal Marines to know basic first aid to help the survival rate of injured soldiers when in combat.

United States

In the United States, there is no universal schedule of First Aid levels that are applicable to all agencies that provide first aid training. Training is provided typically through the American Red Cross, but may also be completed by local fire departments and the American Heart Association (AHA) in terms of CPR. The American Red Cross, however, offers the following courses:<ref>Taken from Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross Course Catalog as example list of training ://</ref>

  • CPR
    • CPR-Adult (CPR-A)
    • CPR-Child and Infant (CPR-CI)
    • CPR-Adult and Child (CPR-AC)
    • CPR-Adult, Child, and Infant (CPR-ACI)
  • CPR/Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
    • CPR/AED-Adult (CPR/AED-A)
    • CPR/AED-Adult and Child (CPR/AED-AC)
    • CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer
  • First Aid
    • First Aid Basics
    • Standard First Aid
    • First Aid - Responding to Emergencies
    • Wilderness and Remote First Aid
    • Emergency Medical Response
  • Specialty
    • Administering Emergency Oxygen
    • Bloodborne Pathogens Training
    • Lifeguarding (Lifeguard training)
    • Epinephrine Auto-Injector Use
    • First Responder in the Workplace training (CPR/AED/First Aid)
    • Dog, Cat, and Dog/Cat First Aid
    • Babysitter's Training
    • Instructor Certification

Red Cross training programs may vary by Chapter and season. Lay First Aid Providers in the United States are subject to Good Samaritan law protections as long as their treatment does not extend beyond training or certification. First Aid training in the United States is limited to basic life support functions needed to sustain life, and training instills the importance of activating the Emergency Medical System before beginning assistance (through the Three C's: Check, Call, Care). Training classes range from a few hours for a specific course, or several days for combination, specialty, and instructor courses. Red Cross volunteers are required to be Standard First Aid plus CPR/ACI certified (AED is encouraged but not required as of 2009), as well as passing the FEMA NIMS Introductory certification.

Specific disciplines

There are several types of first aid (and first aider) which require specific additional training. These are usually undertaken to fulfill the demands of the work or activity undertaken.

  • Aquatic/Marine first aid is usually practiced by professionals such as lifeguards, professional mariners or in diver rescue, and covers the specific problems which may be faced after water-based rescue and/or delayed MedEvac.
  • Battlefield first aid takes into account the specific needs of treating wounded combatants and non-combatants during armed conflict.
  • Hyperbaric first aid may be practiced by SCUBA diving professionals, who need to treat conditions such as the bends.
  • Oxygen first aid is the providing of oxygen to casualties who suffer from conditions resulting in hypoxia.
  • Wilderness first aid is the provision of first aid under conditions where the arrival of emergency responders or the evacuation of an injured person may be delayed due to constraints of terrain, weather, and available persons or equipment. It may be necessary to care for an injured person for several hours or days.
  • Hydrofluoric Acid first aid is taught to first aiders in the chemical industry where hydrofluoric acid may be used. Instructs the first aider how to initially treat (with calcium gluconate) any skin that has been splashed with the acid.
  • Mental health first aid is taught independently of physical first aid. How to support someone experiencing a mental health problem or in a crisis situation. Also how to identify the first signs of someone developing mental ill health and guide people towards appropriate help.
  • Equine first aid is the provision of first aid for horses, mules and donkeys under conditions where the arrival of a verinarian or other professional may be delayed due to distance, constraints of terrain, weather, and available persons or equipment. It may be necessary to care for an injured animal for several hours.


Although commonly associated with first aid, the symbol of a red cross is an official protective symbol of the Red Cross. According to the Geneva Conventions and other international laws, the use of this and similar symbols is reserved for official agencies of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, and as a protective emblem for medical personnel and facilities in combat situations. Use by any other person or organization is illegal, and may lead to prosecution.

The internationally accepted symbol for first aid is the white cross on a green background shown below.

Some organizations may make use of the Star of Life, although this is usually reserved for use by ambulance services, or may use symbols such as the Maltese Cross, like the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps and St John Ambulance. Other symbols may also be used. <gallery> File:Sign_first_aid.svg | ISO First Aid Symbol File:St. Andrews First Aid.png | St. Andrew's First Aid Badge File:Flag_of_the_Red_Cross.svg | Symbol of the Red Cross File:Maltese-Cross-Heraldry.svg | Maltese or Amalfi Cross File:Star_of_life2.svg | Star of life File:CivilDefence.svg | Civil defence </gallery>

Conditions that often require first aid

Also see medical emergency.

  • Altitude sickness, which can begin in susceptible people at altitudes as low as 5,000 feet, can cause potentially fatal swelling of the brain or lungs.<ref name=MedicalProblems>


  • Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition in which the airway can become constricted and the patient may go into shock. The reaction can be caused by a systemic allergic reaction to allergens such as insect bites or peanuts. Anaphylaxis is initially treated with injection of epinephrine.
  • Battlefield first aid—This protocol refers to treating shrapnel, gunshot wounds, burns, bone fractures, etc. as seen either in the ‘traditional’ battlefield setting or in an area subject to damage by large scale weaponry, such as a bomb blast.
  • Bone fracture, a break in a bone initially treated by stabilizing the fracture with a splint.
  • Burns, which can result in damage to tissues and loss of body fluids through the burn site.
  • Cardiac Arrest, which will lead to death unless CPR preferably combined with an AED is started within minutes. There is often no time to wait for the emergency services to arrive as 92 percent of people suffering a sudden cardiac arrest die before reaching hospital according to the American Heart Association.
  • Choking, blockage of the airway which can quickly result in death due to lack of oxygen if the patient’s trachea is not cleared, for example by the Heimlich Maneuver.
  • Cramps in muscles due to lactic acid build up caused either by inadequate oxygenation of muscle or lack of water or salt.
  • Diving disorders, drowning or asphyxiation.<ref name=Longphre>


  • Gender-specific conditions, such as dysmenorrhea and testicular torsion.
  • Heart attack, or inadequate blood flow to the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle.
  • Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke or hyperthermia, which tends to occur during heavy exercise in high humidity, or with inadequate water, though it may occur spontaneously in some chronically ill persons. Sunstroke, especially when the victim has been unconscious, often causes major damage to body systems such as brain, kidney, liver, gastric tract. Unconsciousness for more than two hours usually leads to permanent disability. Emergency treatment involves rapid cooling of the patient.
  • Hair tourniquet a condition where a hair or other thread becomes tied around a toe or finger tightly enough to cut off blood flow.
  • Heat syncope, another stage in the same process as heat stroke, occurs under similar conditions as heat stroke and is not distinguished from the latter by some authorities.
  • Heavy bleeding, treated by applying pressure (manually and later with a pressure bandage) to the wound site and elevating the limb if possible.
  • Hypothermia, or Exposure, occurs when a person’s core body temperature falls below 33.7°C (92.6°F). First aid for a mildly hypothermic patient includes rewarming, but rewarming a severely hypothermic person could result in a fatal arrhythmia, an irregular heart rhythm.<ref name=sterba>


  • Insect and animal bites and stings.
  • Poisoning, which can occur by injection, inhalation, absorption, or ingestion.
  • Seizures, or a malfunction in the electrical activity in the brain. Three types of seizures include a grand mal (which usually features convulsions as well as temporary respiratory abnormalities, change in skin complexion, etc.) and petit mal (which usually features twitching, rapid blinking, and/or fidgeting as well as altered consciousness and temporary respiratory abnormalities).
  • Muscle strains and Sprains, a temporary dislocation of a joint that immediately reduces automatically but may result in ligament damage.
  • Stroke, a temporary loss of blood supply to the brain.
  • Toothache, which can result in severe pain and loss of the tooth but is rarely life threatening, unless over time the infection spreads into the bone of the jaw and starts osteomyelitis.
  • Wounds and bleeding, including lacerations, incisions and abrasions, Gastrointestinal bleeding, avulsions and Sucking chest wounds, treated with an occlusive dressing to let air out but not in.


External links

<!– If you're looking at this bit of the page, with the intention of inserting the name of your first aid training business, organisation or club, and maybe a link too, then you are most likely wasting your time. You are not the first person to think of this, and on average your link will be deleted in less than an hour. It won't reach loads of people, and it doesn't do anything to improve your Google rating or anything similar. –>


<!–Categories–> First aid Scoutcraft Self care

first_aid.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:34 (external edit)