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The role of the first aider

First aid is the help given to someone who is injured or ill to keep them safe and to cause no further harm. The role of a first aider is to give someone this help. Learn what to do.

What to do

1. Assess the situation quickly and calmly.

  • Safety: check whether you or the casualty are in any danger. Is it safe to approach them? (Are you wearing protective equipment?)
  • Scene: find out what caused the accident or situation and how many casualties there are.
  • Situation: find out what’s happened, how many people are involved and how old they are. Are there any children or elderly?

2. Protect yourself and them from any danger.

  • • Always protect yourself first – never put yourself at risk.
  • • Only move them if leaving them would cause them more harm.
  • • If you can’t make an area safe, call 999 or 112 for emergency help.

3. Prevent infection between you and them.

  • • Wash your hands with soap and water or rub your hands with alcohol gel.
  • • Wear disposable, latex free gloves. Do not touch an open wound without gloves on. If you do not have any gloves, you could use clean plastic bags or ask the casualty to dress the wound if they are able.
  • • Do not breathe, cough or sneeze over a wound or casualty.

4. Comfort and reassure.

  • • Stay calm and take charge of the situation.
  • • Introduce yourself to them to help gain their trust.
  • • Explain the situation and anything you’re going to do before you do it.
  • • Treat the casualty with dignity and respect at all times.

5. Assess the casualty and give first aid treatment.

  • • If there’s more than one casualty make sure you help those with life-threatening conditions first.
  • • Use the primary survey to deal with any life-threatening conditions. When these have been dealt with successfully move on to the secondary survey.

6. Arrange for help if needed.

  • • Call 999 or 112 for an ambulance if you think it’s serious.

For a less serious condition, call 111 for medical advice (in England) or seek advice from a GP.

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