First aid skills are extremely important. We never know when we might need it, and given correctly it can save someone's life. Being a little super hero is really cool! The most important thing is to do it correctly, because poorly administered first aid can put lives in even greater danger than they were at the start. Calmness, composure and a head on your shoulders is what counts.
What is first aid?
It is nothing more than the appropriate action to be taken in the event of an accident, injury or sudden attack of illness in order to protect the life or health of the victim. It also helps to minimise adverse sequelae before specialised medical attention can be provided.
A distinction is made between 3 types of first aid:
- First aid, i.e. actions to be carried out by those on the scene
- Qualified first aid, i.e. activities carried out by a team of rescuers who have the appropriate equipment
- Emergency medical activities, activities performed by a doctor, paramedic or nurse.
What is a rescue chain?
It is a set of rescue activities that interlock and give a better chance of survival for the victim.
- Prevention - teaching first aid principles, both at a theoretical and practical level
- Early recognition and call for help - a very important step that increases the victim's chance of survival and recovery
- Early initiation of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) - start immediately if the casualty is seen to be breathless
- Early defibrillation - defibrillation machines are located in metro stations, for example
- Post-resuscitation care - a range of activities already performed in hospital, helping to restore the victim to health and a rapid return to normal life and function
A correct rescue chain allows smooth transitions from one action to another, thus reducing the risk of life. This is very important in first aid.
Scope of first aid - what exactly does first aid cover?
What to do to be able to talk about first aid? These are very simple actions that anyone can perform, it is enough to have a minimum knowledge in this area to contribute to saving someone's life. Very often, the life and health of an injured person depends on our behaviour towards them.
- Securing the scene
Such action is intended to protect not only the injured person, but also ourselves, passers-by and the rescuers who are about to arrive. This could be stopping traffic (setting up a warning triangle), removing hard objects to limit injuries or even evacuating people in the vicinity of the hazard. What action we take depends on the situation the casualty is in and what the danger is. We need to get the situation right and behave appropriately in the event of a fire, accident or collapse.
- Checking the condition of the casualty, basic vital functions, checking that they are breathing and aware of what is happening, locating the site of injury
If the casualty is conscious, then you can interview them, ask if they are OK, if they can hear you. If you don't see any reaction to your questions, you can shake the victim gently by the arm, if you still don't see any reaction then you are dealing with an unconscious person. The most important thing is to check whether the person is breathing, because our next steps depend on this information. There are several ways of checking this, but the most common is to put your cheek against the mouth of the casualty and observe if the chest rises.
- Provision of assistance, call for an ambulance
The most common call is to the ambulance service (999) but, depending on the situation, also the fire brigade (998) or the police (997). At such times, it is very common to forget which is the correct number, so there is one general emergency number - 112 - so that you can be sure that the appropriate service is alerted and you have not wasted time looking for the number. When reporting a situation that has happened, remember to let them know where you are, what has happened, how many are injured and how they are feeling, as well as your name and contact number. It is very important to choose a specific person for this task. If we throw the slogan among the people "let whoever calls", probably no one will do it, because everyone will think and surely someone else will call. There has to be a clear message, a lady in a red coat, a gentleman in a baseball cap.
- Life and health-saving measures until the arrival of the ambulance - stopping the bleeding, resuscitation, taking care of the victim
In these situations, we must take every precaution, for our own health and safety. Protective gloves or a simple plastic bag in which we can wrap our hands will protect us from possible infection. Of course, after helping someone, it is important to wash our hands immediately so as not to spread germs to other places.
- Place casualty in a safe position, but only if unconscious
The safe position should be stable so that it does not compress the chest and allows free breathing.
How and where to learn first aid?
Our first contact with first aid is already at school. In safety education classes, we learn how to behave and what steps to take if we see a person who needs help. In addition, there are many first aid courses that we can enrol in. In addition to legal issues and information about emergency numbers, we can learn how to evacuate people safely and how to act in a life-threatening situation. The theoretical part is always only one side of the coin, so first aid courses also have a practical part. With the help of a dummy, we can learn how to put an injured person in a safe position, how to allow them to breathe freely and, of course, how to perform CPR.
Let's remember that our skills can save someone's life, even in a situation where we least expect it.