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The Principles of a First Aider

by Gerald Hester

First aid training is invaluable to have in an emergency. Obtaining the first-aid certificate of any kind can help you become more proactive when someone is injured and will reduce the chances of the injured party suffering from further complications.

In many countries, first aid training is mandatory when getting your driving license. The candidate goes to classes, to learn about the proper methods of providing help in case of an accident. And it’s a lot more than that.

Any first aider knows that receiving this essential training can ultimately become a major asset in many instances that may require basic medical assistance, which can protect you, your coworkers, and your loved ones. With first aid, there are five main principles to abide by:

  • Preserve life
  • Prevent escalation of an injury
  • Promote recovery
  • Provide pain relief
  • Protect the unconscious

Saving lives is a lot of work to do, especially if a traffic accident happens. We can say that many people don’t find this training important, but it really is, and it can save a lot of lives when done properly.

In this article, you will learn about what each of these principles entails and how they embody the life-saving techniques instilled in first aid that will prove beneficial to anyone.

1. Preservation of life

Source: platinumsafety.com.au

The first principle of first aid is the preservation of life, which usually involves utilizing key first aid techniques to preserve a life of an injured or ill person.

Preservation of life also means keeping yourself safe, meaning don’t put your own life at stake through first aid techniques. At this stage, risk assessment is required to seek out any threats of danger to you, the injured party, or any bystanders.

Risk assessment is meant to cease any escalation of potential risk. Examples of this stage are using CPR or attending to someone who is choking. To help preserve someone’s life could lead to clearing the airways of obstruction, maintaining air circulation, or providing medical attention for someone suffering from a heart condition while you wait for medics to arrive at the scene.

Or, if we need to explain this in a simple way – the person who helps, shouldn’t put their life at risk. Then, they need to estimate who is a priority to be saved. Of course, calling an ambulance is the first thing you do at this point. Then, you try to see what you can do, before they arrive, to ease their job, or increase someone’s chance to survive. Those who are alive, and in pain, can wait since the unconscious people need help first.

If they show signs they are alive, it’s simple, you help them as instructed. Even though it sounds cruel, trying to revive a person who doesn’t show any signs of breathing or heartbeat, takes precious moments that you can use to save another one.

Sometimes, our human actions require unpleasant decisions, but every trainer will teach you that it’s better to lose one person, instead of two, three, or more. That’s how things work – you need to preserve as many lives as you can until the ambulance arrives and gives them proper help.

2. Prevent escalation of illness or injury

Source: futurelearn.com

Once you’ve attended to an injured party and used the first aid techniques to preserve life, the next principle to follow is to prevent deterioration of the injured person’s health.

Preventing any escalation could equate to doing your best to stop an open wound from bleeding, keeping someone still to reduce complications of injury, and keeping the patient calm to protect them from any underlying injuries that may not be visible. Prevention of any injury is imperative to do as you wait for medical professionals to arrive to take over.

What does that mean? You need to be there until the ambulance arrives, or even after that if needed. You have to monitor the condition of the patients, and see if something happens, that you can prevent. If the injured person wakes up, make sure you are there to help, and calm them down. Sometimes their fear can be even more dangerous than the injury itself.

3. Promote recovery

Source: verywellhealth.com

While tending to the casualty by preserving life and preventing deterioration, use what resources are around you to promote recovery and minimize long-lasting injuries if applicable.

Promoting recovery in emergency instances will look like applying cool water onto burns to reduce the chances of significant scarring, disinfecting and bandaging a wound, and applying antibiotic ointments to a wound to help it heal. This particular principle is meant to speed up the healing process and reduce further common complications amongst severe injuries.

4. Provide pain relief

After promoting recovery, the next first aid principle is to provide pain relief if possible. If the injured person is bleeding out, giving them pain relief medication is not at all advisable and could potentially do more harm than good. Giving pain relief should only be done if it won’t risk the injured person. If you are unsure, contact a medical professional for advice when you are able under such emergent circumstances.

Never give any medicine to an injured person, without knowing their medical history. You need to simply do what you can do, and wait for the doctors to come. Don’t give medicine to any person that is not contactable at that particular moment, so you won’t make a mess.

5. Protect the unconscious

Source: verywellhealth.com

The final principle of first aid is to protect the unconscious, including removing dangerous situations and environments. Removing the unconscious from a fire, dangerous waters, or a busy road and placing them in safe conditions can be a great help and ultimately a life-saving action.

Utilizing first-aid practices, you will be equipped with the knowledge to position the unconscious person to ensure their airways won’t be obstructed. Protecting an unconscious person is a vital principle of first aid training, particularly as you wait for medics to arrive to take over.

Again, we must mention that you need to determine your priorities, especially when there is more than one person injured in an accident. The priority is the person that is unconscious at the moment but still shows signs they are alive. Once again, call an ambulance and police as soon as arrive at the place of the accident. After that, you can start helping these people and increasing their chances to survive.


Source: medicalnewstoday.com

Learning first aid is imperative to know the life-saving basics that can potentially reduce the chances of severe injury or, worse, death in an emergency situation. Probably it’s a mandatory class for all the candidates for a driving license.

According to firstaidtrainingcalgary.com, first aid training will also allow you to learn the five principles to assist you in any circumstances that require you to preserve life, prevent escalation, further the recovery process, provide pain relief, and protect those unconscious.

Ultimately, these principles can save a life and significantly reduce the risk of severe and painful complications of an injury that you or someone else may endure.

In the end, you will be able to help the people in need, not just if there is an accident – but in any other case possible, when they need help. Saving lives is one of the ultimate human things you can do, so don’t skip these lessons. It will be really nice to know what to do when an unpredictable situation happens close to you.

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