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Basics of First Aid

This topic provides information about Basics of First Aid.

Emergencies at School

Children are highly vulnerable to injuries and accidents. Usually these are only minor bruises and grazes, but sometimes the child may incur a severe accident s resulting in fracture, bleeding, suffocation, fainting, burns, drowning or electric shock (etc.). Also, a school staff member may suffer a heart attack or a have breathing problems that may need immediate First Aid.

Under these circumstances the First Aider needs to be confident to do something. Being nervous or scared is completely normal, but with First Aid training and practicing skills with role plays, scenarios or simulations, this can help school students to be confident to act and make the difference between life and death.

The procedure of attending an emergency always remains the same and includes the following:

  1. Assess the situation – Is it SAFE for YOU as well as others
  2. Safety first
  3. Alert and seek help
  4. Take universal precautions for providing first aid
  5. Provide first-aid/ Reassurance
  6. Transport or refer to a healthcare facility, if needed

Aims of First Aid

First aid is the FIRST ASSISTANCE or support given to a casualty or a sick person for any injury or sudden illness before the arrival of an ambulance, a qualified paramedical or medical person or before arriving at a facility that can provide professional medical care. First Aid is not about giving medicine or diagnosing a condition.

As a consequence of disaster emergencies or accidents people suffer injuries which require urgent care and transportation to the nearest healthcare facility.

First Aid and the concerned law in India

Indian Good Samaritan Protection Guidelines

A Good Samaritan in legal terms refers to "someone who renders aid in an emergency to an injured person on a voluntary basis".

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published the Indian Good Samaritan and Bystanders Protection Guidelines in The Gazette of India in May 2015 (Notification No 25035/101/2014 - RS dated 12 May 2015).

The guidelines are to be followed by hospitals, police and other authorities for the protection of Good Samaritans. The bystander or Good Samaritan shall not be liable for any civil and criminal liability. The disclosure of contact details of the Good Samaritan is to be voluntary. The lack of response by a doctor in an emergency pertaining to road accidents (where s/he is expected to provide care) shall constitute 'Professional Misconduct'.

Universal Precaution

It is important to always check the scene and ensure your safety first. Remember that dialling emergency number for ambulance and other related services is one of the most important steps you can take to save another's life.

  1. Your safety is first, so leave the scene if you are at risk.
  2. While helping the victim, protect yourself from transmission of possible diseases/infections.
    • Use preventive breathing barriers / personal protective equipment (PPE) when available.
    • Try to cover your own cuts, sores, wounds, and any skin conditions with a proper bandage before responding.
  3. Use disposable gloves to avoid direct contact with blood / bodily fluids. In absence of gloves plastic bags or thick pad of cloths can be used as barrier in between.
  4. Washing your hands properly is extremely important. Always use soap and water after removing your gloves/barrier.
  5. If you suspect that a victim has suffered a spinal or neck injury, do not move or shake the victim.

Role of First Aider

Remember PACT

  • P - Protect
  • A - Assess
  • C - Care
  • T - Transport-Triage

Dealing with an Emergency

Always apply 4 main steps systematically during any emergency situations:

  1. Safety first – Make sure there is no danger to you and victim.
  2. Check response - is the person asleep or unresponsive – Call, Shake, Shout
  3. Seek help - Shout or call for help if you are alone but do not leave the person unattended.
  4. Quick assessment of victim’s condition – Check consciousness and breathing (look, listen, feel). Look for bleeding and other life threatening conditions and take life-saving measures such as:
    • If no breathing, start Chest compression (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR))
    • If breathing present but unconscious, casualty is placed in side recovery position
    • If bleeding present, stop/control bleeding by direct pressure
    • Immobilise bone/joint injuries and take care when handling or moving to prevent any injury to the spine or neck
    • And protecting casualty from heat/cold
  5. Take complete assessment and stabilise the person as per available local resources.

Source : Draft Comprehensive Module for First Aid Training in Schools

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