“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”, especially in an emergency situation when seconds count. Sudden illness or injury can often cause irreversible damage or death to the victim unless proper care is initiated as soon as possible.
First aid includes identifying a life-threatening condition, taking action to prevent further injury or death, reducing pain, and counteracting the effects of shock. Remember, First aid is not intended to replace care by a physician or surgeon.
The first-aid provider in the workplace is someone who is trained in the delivery of initial medical emergency procedures, using a limited amount of equipment to perform a primary assessment and intervention while awaiting arrival of emergency medical service (EMS) personnel. The primary purpose of first aid is to:
- Care for life-threatening situations
- Protect the victim from further injury and complications
- Arrange transportation for the victim to a medical facility
- Make the victim as comfortable as possible to conserve strength
- Provide reassurance to the victim
An accident can occur at any time or any place. If you are the first person to arrive at the scene of accident, there are a few basic steps you should follow to protect yourself and the victim. The following steps are required immediately:
1. Survey the Scene: Before you help the victim, determine if the scene is safe. If anything dangerous is present, don’t put your own life at risk to try and help the victim; you will be of no aid if you become a victim too. Summon help and wait for trained people to resolve the situation. If the scene is safe, try and determine what happened and how many victims there may be. Never move the victim unless an immediate, life threatening danger exists, such as a fire or the threat of a building collapse.
2. Survey the Victim: After ensuring the scene is safe, you can turn your attention to the victim. Begin by performing a primary survey to determine if the victim:
- Is conscious
- Has an open, unobstructed airway
- Is breathing
- Has a heartbeat
- Is not bleeding severely
To check for consciousness, gently tap the person and ask if they are okay. If there is no response, this in an indication that a possible life-threatening situation may exist. If the person is responsive and can talk or cry, this indicates they are conscious, breathing, have an unobstructed airway, and a pulse. If the victim is unconscious, kneel down next to the head and check for the ABC‘s:
A. Airway (clear and maintain an open airway)
B. Breathing (restore breathing)
C. Circulation (restore circulation)
To check the Airway, Breathing, and Circulation, place your ear next to the victim’s mouth and listen/feel for breath sounds while looking for a rise and fall of the chest. While doing this, check for a pulse by placing your fingers on the neck, just below the angle of the jaw, and feel for the pulse from the carotid artery.
If there is not a pulse, then this person needs cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If you are not trained in CPR, then find someone who is….
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