Emergency first aid
Not everyone has the chance to attend a First Aid course before they are forced to use it to help someone – so we have compiled you another chart of quick actions you could take to save someone’s life. But it is advisable, before studying the information contained in the chart, to have completed a first aid course, since you may need to use those techniques in one of the following situations.
What does DRABC mean?
D – Check for Danger – to you, to others and to the injured person/ child.
R – Check for Response – is the person/ child conscious or unconscious? If the person is non-responsive – call for help and continue with plan.
A – Check Airway – is the airway clear of objects – is the airway open?
B – Check for Breathing – is the chest rising and falling? – can you feel or hear breath coming from the mouth or nose? – if no breathing, give two initial breaths.
C – Give CPR – if there are no signs of life, the person isn’t breathing and not moving, start with CPR.
What is the recovery position?
It is, simply put, a position that is used in First Aid to prevent an unconscious patient from choking. The body is placed facing downwards and slightly to the side, supported by the bent limbs.
|Event and Recognition
|| First Aid
- Is unaware of their surroundings and does not respond to sound
- Makes no purposeful movements
- Does not respond to questions or to touch
- May or may not be breathing or have a pulse
- To determine whether a person is unconscious or not, ask with a loud voice: “Are you okay?” If there is no response, tap on the chest or shoulder or gently shake the shoulders to see whether he responds and ask again. (If you suspect a head or neck injury, do not shake the shoulder). In the case of a baby, tap the feet.
- Check the ABC: Airway, Breathing and Circulation. If the person is not breathing, start mouth-to-mouth breathing. If there is no pulse, start full CPR.
- If choking is suspected, do the Heimlich manoeuvre.
- If you do not suspect a head or spinal injury, move the person into the recovery position. This will prevent the airway from being blocked by the tongue, blood or vomit.
- Look for a Medic-Alert tag that may explain the cause of the unconsciousness.
- Look and treat for any obvious injuries, such as fractures or bleeding.
- Keep the person warm. Do not give anything to eat or drink when the person awakes.
- Monitor the level of response, breathing and pulse regularly until medical help arrives. Note: If a back or neck injury is suspected, do not move the person.
Call an ambulance: 112 on a cellular phone; or 10177 for the National ambulance service; or
082 911 for Netcare; or
084 124 for ER24
Breathing and heart may have stopped
- Lift the child out of the water and carry with the head (face up or down) lower than the chest to reduce the risk of inhaling water.
The unconscious child:
- Assess child’s condition and be prepared to resuscitate.
- Place in the recovery position.
- Remove any wet clothing.
- Cover with a towel or blanket.
| Note: Take the child to hospital even if they seem recovered, as any inhaled water may have caused lung damage.
- May cause breathing and heart to stop
- Burns where the current entered and left the body
- Person may still be tightly gripping the cable
- Don't approach the person who has been electrocuted until you're certain the area is safe.
- Break contact between the person and the current source as quickly as possible: the best way to do this is to shut off the current at the main fuse box. Don't use the switch on the appliance. It is not recommended to use a wooden stick or similar to separate the person from the appliance: some power sources can arc up to 8 metres.
- Check the ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation), start CPR if necessary and call an ambulance.
- Check for signs of shock (A life-threatening condition, which occurs when blood flow is too low to serve the vital organs. Major burns cause loss of body fluids, which can lead to shock.)
- With high voltages, the person may have been thrown into the air and may have sustained back, head or neck injuries. Internal body damage is not always obvious.
- Cover any burnt area with a sterile gauze bandage or a clean cloth.
- If the child seems unharmed, make them rest and observe their condition.
- Seek medical advice.
- Continue to monitor their condition and be prepared to resuscitate.
- Cool any burns with cool water.
The brain may be “shaken” by a violent blow causing concussion.
- Brief loss of consciousness, dizziness or nausea on recovery
- Loss of memory of immediately preceding events
- A mild headache
The Conscious Child:
- Treat any wound or bump with a cold compress.
- Be on the look out for any abnormal behaviour.
- Seek medical advice.
Child who regains consciousness quickly:
- If your child has been “knocked out”, even briefly, call a doctor and seek medical advice.
- Make the child rest and watch them closely. If they have not recovered completely within 30 minutes, call an ambulance.
The Unconscious Child:
- Follow the DRABC of First Aid and call an ambulance.
|If unconscious call an ambulance.
- Pale, cold and sweaty skin, tinged with grey
- A rapid pulse becoming weaker
- Shallow, fast breathing
Later signs include:
- Restlessness, yawning, and sighing
- Loss of consciousness
Note: The most likely cause of shock in a child is serious bleeding or a severe burn or scald.
- Lay the child down flat, keeping the head lower than the chest.
- Call an ambulance.
- Raise legs, on pillows, to higher than the heart level.
- Loosen any tight-fitting clothing.
- Give constant reassurance. Encourage the child to talk or answer questions.
- Cover with a light blanket to keep warm and observe breathing rate and skin colour.
- Keep monitoring the pulse rate.
- Be prepared to resuscitate.
|Call an ambulance
For more information see Kid’s first aid or Parenting