First Aid Courses

First aid courses is sometimes required before you can take an EMT training course and different areas have their own other specific requirements. Most of the time though, first aid is included in the course or there’s a separate first aid course just before the EMT training course starts. Even if you have no intention of working as an EMT in the EMS field, having first aid skills can make a difference to the well being of those around you like your colleagues and your family. To put it simply first aid save lives. Anyone can take first aid training, while some absolutely need it, any member of the public or workplace can acquire first aid skills.

According to Wikipedia:

First aid is the provision of initial care for an illness or injury. It is usually performed by non-expert, but trained personnel to a sick or injured person until definitive medical treatment can be accessed. Certain self-limiting illnesses or minor injuries may not require further medical care past the first aid intervention. It generally consists of a series of simple and in some cases, potentially life-saving techniques that an individual can be trained to perform with minimal equipment.

The most common form of first aid is CPR which everyone is familiar with. It involves mouth to mouth breathing combined with chest compression and commonly administered after a cardiac arrest. It is a very important skill for Emergency Medical Technicians and everyone should learn it as emergencies can happen anytime.

Advantages of First Aid

There are many benefits in applying first aid to anything that needs treatment. Fist aid generally prevents minor injuries or problems from escalating. Some injuries not treated at all might turn into something life threatening if left by itself and not treated with first aid. There are many people who suffer from heart attack everyday and they can be saved by putting their heart back into rhythm using a defibrillator. You can learn to use an external automated defibrillator in a defibrillator training course with the first aid course. It’s always better if you have some first aid skill than nothing at all.

First Aid Skills

There are first aid skills that are considered essential in giving first aid. Using the ABC of first aid which stands for Airway, Breathing, and Circulation must be carried out first before treating less serious injuries. After that, additional treatments can be given as required. Trained first aiders should be able to deal with grazes, cuts, or bone fracture. Some of the common first aid skill to handle the most common medical emergency situations include:

  • CPR: A heart attack can happen when one or more blood vessels that supply blood to the heart gets blocked. If a part of the heart is deprived of blood the victim suffers a cardiac arrest. The victim will require Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to provide oxygen through rescue breathing and maintain circulation through chest compressions.
  • Heimlich Maneuver: If a victim is choking and cannot cough or speak, there’s an airway obstruction that must be treated immediately using the Heimlich Maneuver.
  • Control Bleeding: Bleeding can be a life threatening situation and requires immediate attention. First aid should stop the bleeding, prevent shock, and avoid infection.
  • Treat Shock: Any type of injury can cause a shock and symptoms appears on the first hour of injury. Shock happens when there’s not enough blood circulating to the heart, lungs, and brain.
  • Treat Burns: Burns are painful and can result to infection and shock specially if the victim is very young or very old.
  • Treat Heat Stroke: This happens when the body’s heat regulator fails and is a serious life threatening emergency. The rise in body temperature to very high can cause brain damage and even death unless the body is cooled quickly.
  • Treat Hypothermia: This condition can become life threatening. It starts with shivering, dizziness, numbness, confusion, weakness, drowsiness, then loss of consciousness, and decreasing pulse and breathing rate.

There are many other skills you can learn from first aid courses like treating victims from poisons, insect and bites, allergy, fractures and sprains, seizures, strokes, and many more.

Types of First Aid Courses

There are quite a number of first aid courses out there. First aid courses for free are available through organizations like Red Cross and St. John Ambulance. There are also commercial providers and is most common in training first aid to employees and other health care providers. A good first aid course should teach the latest techniques and have a regularly updated course content to meet standards.

First Aid, CPR, and AED

This course provides a complete health and safety training for corporate employees, designated first responders in the workplace or schools like airline and security personnel, lifeguards, and individuals who want to learn First Aid, CPR and how to operate an AED. It teaches basic techniques of adult CPR and use of AED and barrier devices in CPR. It also teaches how to identify signs of emergencies like heart attack, stroke, and choking.

BLS for Healthcare Providers

Teaches first aid skills based on AHA guidelines intended for healthcare providers like nurses, physicians, paramedics, EMTs, medical students, residents or fellows, police officers, and other health professionals who provide health care to various patients and settings and anybody who wants to be prepared in an emergency. The course includes doing ventilation, use of automated external defibrillator (AED), and relief of foreign-body airway obstruction (FBAO).

Advanced Cardiac Life Support

This is for emergency healthcare providers who participate in the resuscitation of patients like emergency, intensive, and critical care personnel, and other personnel who needs to respond to a cardiovascular emergency and gives importance to patient survival using BLS and ACLS as well as effective communication between team members during resuscitation.

There are other first aid courses designed for specific settings like wilderness first aid for scouts and outdoor enthusiasts, sports first aid for injury prevention in sports, pet first aid for pet owners, pediatric first aid that meets first aid needs for parents and other who care for babies and children, and occupational first aid for maintaining first aid equipment and resources.

Learning First Aid

The basic first aid like applying bandage can be learned through experience but effective first aid that can save lives requires instruction and practical training. It becomes more important if the injury is fatal and carry a great risk to the patient. Attending first aid courses, getting a certification and re-certification to maintain skill and update on procedures and protocols is often necessary.

Basic Life Support

Basic life support or BLS are performed on patients in a life threatening situation until proper medical care can be given. BLS is usually done on the scene outside of the hospital by any BLS strained medical personnel like EMTs and Paramedics. Basic life support can be performed without using any medical equipment. Anyone can acquire BLS skills after taking a BLS training course or EMT Training. It is required for firefighters and police officers to have BLS certification which is also useful to other professions life teachers and security officers. BLS is often associated with EMT Basic although it can also be used by higher levels.

Basic life support skills are focused on maintaining airway, supporting breathing and circulation to provide enough blood to organs and deliver oxygen to cells. Airways skills like head tilt/chin lift and jaw thrust aid in keeping the airway open. Artificial respiration and giving emergency oxygen are breathing skills while bleeding control and CPR techniques are circulation skills.

Basic Life Support Sequence

Basic life support consists of the following, continuing to the next sequence when needed:

  1. Making sure the victim and everyone else are safe.
  2. Checking the victim for consciousness and asking loudly if he’s all right.
  3. Trying to find out what is wrong and shouting for help if needed.
  4. Keeping the airway open and checking for normal breathing.
  5. Starting CPR, chest compression, and rescue breaths.
  6. Continuing resuscitation until qualified help takes over.

Some situations like choking, drowning, and hypothermia, some points should be considered. Drowning victims that are unresponsive should be given CPR as soon as possible, finding the severity of choking, and checking the pulse and breathing for half a minute or more when the victim has hypothermia.

Paediatric Basic Life Support

There are some differences to adult and children basic life support, cardiorespiratory arrest is not common to children and origins of arrests requiring separate algorithm for health care professionals. Giving adult BLS to children should be given rather than doing nothing. It is also important to know the differences between infants and children.

The basic life support guidelines can be found here for UK and here for US.