Are you trained in first aid?
Basic first aid, for example how to stop bleeding by applying pressure, can be crucial, even life saving knowledge. First-aid courses are often offered by BRCS, local hospitals and charitable hospital for nominal charges. Think how happy you (and the victim) will be if you are able to make use of current training in an emergency situation.
Your Duties as a First Aider
Anyone performing first aid has some responsibilities:
Being a first aider
First aid is based on knowledge, training and expertise. A first aider will have completed a practical training course under the supervision of a recognized first aid organization. If you’re present at the scene of an accident or during a medical emergency, you need to go through the following stages:
- Assess the situation.
- Take control of your feeling, don’t act impulsively.
- Look for continuing danger, to the casualties and to yourself.
- Decide whether to call for emergency help.
Assess the casualties
A quiet casualty may be an indication that the person is unconscious. Quiet casualties should always be your first priority.
- Prioritize treatment of casualties according to severity of injury.
- Check response by asking casualties whether they are all right.
- Check breathing.
- If a casualty isn’t breathing, ask somebody to call 991 immediately and give 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths.
- Continue this sequence until emergency help arrives or the casualty starts to show some response.
Further assistance to casualties
- Aim to give all casualties early and effective help.
- Arrange for casualties to be taken to hospital where necessary.
- Remain with casualty until help arrives.
- Prevent cross-infection between yourself and the casualty.
- Take care of casualty’s possessions and ensure they accompany the casualty to hospital.
Protection against cross-infection
The risks from HIV or hepatitis B are small and can be minimised:
- Wash your hand.
- Wear plastic gloves and an apron where possible.
- Cover any wounds on your own skin with plasters.
- Be careful where there are needles present.
If, after an incident, you have any fears about the infection, contact your doctor.
First Aid Kits
A well-stocked first aid kit, kept within easy reach, is a necessary in every home. Having supplies gathered ahead of time will help you handle an emergency at a moment’s notice. You should keep one first-aid kit in your home and one in your car. Also be sure to bring a first-aid kit on family vacations.
Choose containers for your kits that are roomy, durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes or containers for storing art supplies are ideal, since they’re lightweight, have handles, and offer a lot of space.
BRCS doesn’t sell the first-aid kits (until further notice) but you can buy all items for your first aid kits at a well-stocked drug store. Ask the pharmacist for help in selecting items. Include the following in each of your first-aid kits:
- first-aid manual
- sterile gauze
- adhesive tape
- adhesive bandages in several sizes
- elastic bandage
- antiseptic wipes
- antibiotic cream (triple-antibiotic ointment)
- antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
- hydrocortisone cream (1%)
- paracetamol (panadol)
- extra prescription medications (if the family in going on vacation)
- sharp scissors
- safety pins
- disposable instant cold packs
- calamine lotion
- plastic gloves (at least 2 pairs)
- mouthpiece for administering CPR
- your list of emergency phone numbers
- blanket (stored nearby)
After you’ve stocked your first-aid kit:
Read the entire first-aid manual so you’ll understand how to use the contents of your kits. (If your children are old enough to understand, review the manuals with them as well.)
Store first-aid kits in places that are out of children’s reach but easily accessible for adults. Check the kits regularly. Replace missing items or medicines that may have expired.