Simple First Aid For Non-Medical Professionals

In an emergency, there's usually little time to seek out information or deeply consider how to respond. Just a few minutes can make all of the difference between life and death. In order to help out during emergencies, you don't need to be a medical professional. On the contrary, most emergency relief workers agree that our best chance for health and safety is a well-informed public capable of performing basic first aid techniques when needed. To truly prepare for emergency situations, it's advisable to undergo a proper training course. In the meantime, it's worth learning a bit about the most basic first aid techniques. Later, you can specialize on more specific themes, from wilderness first aid to family preparedness to defusing threats to personal safety.

Emergency Prepareness

One of the most important steps toward safety in emergency situations is assembling a reliable first aid kit. Many organizations offer information on what you need for a complete kit, including what it should contain and where you should keep it. To create a reliable kit for all situations, ensure that it contains all of the vital items to help you survive in emergency situations such as electrical outages or natural disasters. Depending on your particular circumstances, you may also need to include extra items, such as infant formula or cold-weather gear. You may also need to put together specific kits for particular situations, such as wilderness trekking, automobile travel, or situations affecting your pets.

Learning CPR

CPR, also known as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is simple enough that even children can learn to do it. In most cases, CPR consists of a combination of compressing the chest and mouth-to-mouth breathing. In essence, when someone is unable to circulate oxygen or blood throughout the body, CPR may be called for. CPR is widely known as a response to a heart attack. In addition, it may be called for in cases of drowning, electrocution, poisoning, suffocation, and more. Learning CPR is quite straightforward, making it one of the most essential first aid skills for everyone to learn.

Using an AED

An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a device that can help to re-start regular heart function after sudden cardiac arrest. Increasingly, AED devices are placed in public locations, including transportation centers and shopping malls. Since these devices can potentially prove life-saving, it's vital for normal, non-medical professionals to learn how they work. Luckily, learning how to use an AED is quite straightforward. Despite their technical appearance, the units are designed for easy use. Basic AED usage can be broken down into "the 3 C's," making it easy to remember: Check for responsiveness, call 911, and compress.


When you see someone choking, it's important to act quickly. Losing the ability to breathe, even for seconds or minutes, can cause widespread and long-term damage to the body. Therefore, it's a good idea to learn in advance what to do when someone begins to choke. Often, the person will begin to cough and struggle to speak, possibly putting their hands near their throat. To dislodge whatever is stuck in the person's throat, it's often advisable to perform abdominal thrusts, using both hands to briskly pump the abdomen inward and upward. However, these thrusts are not always necessary, depending on the severity of the blockage. At the first signs of choking, stick to the four steps of choking first aid. First, encourage them to cough it out. If this doesn't work, help them lean forward and slap against their back, just between the shoulder blades. If that doesn't work, try abdominal thrusts. Finally, if the choking persists, call for emergency help. Finally, remember that first aid for choking is different for pregnant or obese individuals, for children, and for babies, requiring a slightly modified intervention.

Disaster Preparedness

Often, first aid is required in cases of accidents or sudden health conditions, from choking to drowning to heart attacks. However, first aid responses are also vital in cases of natural disaster. Depending on the kinds of disasters most common in your area, you may need to learn how to prepare for a tornado, what to do in the case of a hurricane, or how to respond to flooding. Wherever you live, it's a good idea to be prepared for certain disaster scenarios, such as fires, major storms, or blackouts. If you have a family, it's a good idea to prepare a family-wide disaster plan of how you will respond to various emergency situations and where you will go in case of evacuation. Most public authorities advise drawing up a written emergency plan and posting it somewhere in the home alongside important information such as emergency contact numbers. Then, regularly referring to the plan and practicing it is key to a quick response.

Burt Cancaster, Author

Vitality Medical
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 733-4449
[email protected]

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