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 Basic First Aid

It is important in preparing for any emergency to know how to give first aid. If medical help is not immediately available, use the first aid booklet in your first aid kit (available from the Red Cross or at stores). If you do not have a first aid booklet, the information below may be helpful.

If you encounter someone who is injured, apply these emergency Check-Call-Care action steps:

  • Check the scene to make sure it is safe for you to approach. Be alert for fallen power lines. Then check the victim for unconsciousness and life-threatening conditions. Someone who has a life-threatening condition, such as not breathing or severe bleeding, requires immediate care by trained responders and may require treatment by medical professionals.
  • Call for help.
  • Care for someone who is hurt.

Control bleeding

Cover the wound with a dressing, and press firmly against the wound (direct pressure). Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart if you do not suspect that the victim has a broken bone. Cover the dressing with a bandage. If the bleeding does not stop, apply additional dressings and bandages, and use a pressure point to squeeze the artery against the bone. Provide care for shock.

Care for shock

Keep the victim from getting chilled or overheated. Elevate the legs about 12 inches (if broken bones are not suspected). Do not give food or drink to the victim.


Reduce pain by gently cooling the burn. Pour large amounts of water over the burned area. Cover the burn with dry, clean dressings or cloth.

Muscles, bones and joint injuries

Rest the injured part. Apply ice or a cold pack to control swelling and reduce pain. Avoid any movement or activity that causes pain. If you must move the victim because the scene is becoming unsafe, try to immobilize the injured part to keep it from shifting.


Call the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) and communicate what was swallowed and how much. Follow the directions given exactly.

Reduce any care risks

The risk of getting a disease while giving first aid is extremely rare. However, to reduce the risk even further:

  • Avoid direct contact with blood and other body fluids.
  • Use protective equipment, such as disposable gloves and breathing barriers like cloth handkerchiefs.
  • Whenever possible, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water immediately after giving care.