First aid: learning the basics

First aid is an invaluable skill to learn; it can literally save lives. As with learning any new skill, it is important to get the basics of first aid straight in your mind before progressing into more advanced training.

Let’s start with the main aims of first aid, and why it is so important. The key objectives of first aid are to:

  • Preserve life – this is the main aid of all types of medical care, to save lives.
  • Prevent conditions from worsening, i.e. apply pressure to a bleed
  • Help recovery first aid has a big part to play in starting the recovery process, even if it’s something as small as putting on a plaster to promote healing

With the skills and knowledge to carry out first aid, you can help to save someone’s life. If someone stops breathing while you wait for an ambulance to arrive, and you manage to resuscitate them using your first aid skills, you will have saved that person’s life.

Key first aid skills

Most first aid training courses (particularly first aid at work training courses) will cover the following issues:

  • Bleeding control
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Treating burns and scalds
  • Unconsciousness
  • Eye injuries
  • Basic life support
  • How to examine a casualty
  • Dressings

In addition, you are also likely to learn how to stay calm and prioritise during an emergency, so you can handle the incident smoothly and efficiently.