4-1 GENERAL FIRST AID RULES
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recall general first aid rules.
There are a few general first aid rules that you should follow in any
- Take a moment to get organized. On your way to an accident scene, use a
few seconds to remember the basic rules of first aid. Remain calm as you take
charge of the situation, and act quickly but efficiently. Decide as soon as
possible what has to be done and which one of the patientís injuries needs
- Unless contraindicated, make your preliminary examination in the position
and place you find the victim. Moving the victim before this check could gravely
endanger life, especially if the neck, back, or ribs are broken. Of course, if
the situation is such that you or the victim is in danger, you must weigh this threatagainst the potential damage caused by premature transportation. If you
decide to move the victim, do it quickly and gently to a safe location where
proper first aid can be administered.
- In a multi-victim situation, limit your preliminary survey to observing for
airway patency, breathing, and circulation, the ABCs of basic life support.
Remember, irreversible brain damage can occur within 4 to 6 minutes if breathing
has stopped. Bleeding from a severed artery can lethally drain the body in even
less time. If both are present and you are alone, quickly handle the major
hemorrhage first, and then work to get oxygen back into the system. Shock may
allow the rescuer a few minutes of grace but is no less deadly in the long run.
- Examine the victim for fractures, especially in the skull, neck, spine,
and rib areas. If any are present, prematurely moving the patient can easily
lead to increased lung damage, permanent injury, or death. Fractures of the hip
bone or extremities, though not as immediately life-threatening, may pierce
vital tissue or blood vessels if mishandled.
- Remove enough clothing to get a clear idea of the extent of the injury.
Rip along the seams, if possible, or cut. Removal of clothing in the normal way
may aggravate hidden injuries. Respect the victimís modesty as you proceed, and
do not allow the victim to become chilled.
- Keep the victim reassured and comfortable. If possible, do not allow the
victim to see the wounds. The victim can endure pain and discomfort better if
confident in your abilities. This is important because under normal conditions
the medical technician will not have strong pain relief medications right at hand.
- Avoid touching open wounds or burns with your fingers or unsterile
objects, unless clean compresses and bandages are not available and it is
imperative to stop severe bleeding.
- Unless contraindicated, position the unconscious or semiconscious victim
on his side or back, with the head turned to the side to minimize choking or the
aspirating of vomitus. Never give an unconscious person any substance by mouth.
- Always carry a litter patient feet first so that the rear bearer can
constantly observe the victim for respiratory or circulatory distress.