Principles and Practice of First Aid
What is First Aid ?
“ First aid is the provision of immediate care to a
victim with an injury or illness, usually effected by
a lay person, and performed within a limited skill
- Normally performed until injury or illness is
satisfactorily dealt with
- until the next level of care, such as an ambulance or
- The key guiding principles and purpose of first aid are :-
Prevent further injury
Issues in Providing Care
As most first aid treatment involve touching the victim,
it is important that the first aider gains their permission.
During conversation, identify the following points :-
(patient is conscious)
Who you are
Why you are with them
What you are going to do
However assume victim gives their consent in following
Has a very reduced level of consciousness.
Awareness of Danger
- as you approach a scene, be aware of the dangers
which might be posed to you or the victim.
- such as – traffic, gas or chemical leaks, live electrical
items, building on fire or falling objects.
- human factors such as bystanders in the way,
victims not being co-operatives, or aggresor in the
- first aiders are never required to place themselves
in a situation which might put them in danger.
- Keep yourself protected – first priority.
- be aware of your surrounding and changing situation.
- other key dangers – bodily fluids eg. blood, vomit,
urine and feces.
- remember body fluids can carry infections and
Cont. protective precautions
Put on the gloves
- this is the first thing a first aider should do when
approaching a victim !
- gloves are generally of 3 types :-
- often purple or blue in colour
- most recommended
- can be used to deal with chemical burns.
- usually white
- used primarily for touching victims without external
What as happened ?
- as you approach, try to gain as much information as
possible about the incident.
- build a mental picture that can help you treat the
victim through :-
1. Assessing the scene
2. Get some history
3. Be sure to listen
- once confident there is minimal danger to yourself,
assess how responsive the victim is.
- greet “ Hello, are you alright ?”
- assess and prioritized victim using AVPU scale in order
to help the first aider to make decision.
- AVPU stands for Alert, Voice, Pain, Unresponsive.
Key indicators on the victims are their :-
- Eyes – are they open spontaneously, looking around
appear able to see you ?
- Response to voice
do they reply, seem to understand and obey
- Response to pain (physical stimulus)
- first stimulus – tap/shake of shoulder.
- sternal rub
- nail bed squeeze
- ear lobe squeeze
Some important tips :-
- If the measures above provoke reaction eg. groaning,
a movement, fluttering of eyes,- these mean
reponsive to pain.
- If victim is not responsive to voice or pain, then
they are unresponsive.
- Perform further checks on key life critical system
of breathing and circulation (ABCs).
Remember the mnemonic “ Go DR SHAVPU ”
Go – Put gloves on.
D - Check for danger.
R - Checked for responsiveness.
S - Looked at the scene for clues about what happen.
H - Gained history on the incident.
AVPU – Assessed to see how responsive the victim is.
The first Aider
A first aider is just a common person who may
have learnt a standart method at aplication of
first aid best suited to his skill.
He is trained to reach patients, identify the
problem, and provide emergency care and when
necessary move patients without causing futher
Should be a good observer
Should be able to act quickly
Should not get panicky or excited
Should have ability to lead and control the crowd
and take help from the onlookers
Should have self confidence and ability to judge
injuries to be tracked first
Warning to the first aider
First aider should keep in
mind that he is not doctor
He should not examine
wounds by opening which
have already been
bandaged by some body
He should not declare any
person as dead, this is not
in his scope
Scope at the first aid
In accidents, which
may take place either
at road, home, in
factories, buildings or
as a result of natural
shock, burns, snake
Summary of the first aider skill
Control the scene of
Gain access to the patient
Evaluate the scene in the
terms of safety and posible
cause of accident
Gather information from
patient and bystandars
Determine vital sign ( pulse,
breathing, skin temperature )
Perform the necessary ABCs of emergency
care ( and bleeding control )
Diagnosis and care for shock
Detect and care for poisoning including
alcohol and drug abuse
Diagnosis and care for burns and smoke
Guidelines to the presentation.
This is a group presentation.
Every member of the group should participate in the
preparation and presentation.
Time will be allocated for presentation and questioning
The following guidelines are sujested :-
Brief explaination of the physiology and anatomical
Institution of first aid measures.
Group assignment and presentation
External injuries and bleeding. Group 1
Fracture. Group 2
Suction Group 3
Shock. Group 4
Obstructed airway and asphyxia. Group 5
Burns Goup 6
GCS Group 7
Poisoning. Group 8
Convulsion Group 9
Drowning Group 10