Essential First Aid Techniques Everyone Should Know

Knowing first aid can save lives, whether it’s an injured child, a severe allergic reaction to food, or an insect sting. First aid training can help parents recognize medical emergencies and respond appropriately.

For example, if someone is bleeding, they should be placed in a recovery position, and their pulse checked frequently until emergency personnel arrive. Parents who have completed CPR training can use their skills to perform chest compressions and rescue breathing.


Everyone should know CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or the standard first aid and CPR Ottawa is an essential first aid technique. In some situations, it can save lives and even make the difference between life and death. It consists of three main steps: opening the airway, breathing, and circulation.

If someone loses consciousness, start by making sure the airway is clear. Then, check for a pulse. If you don’t find one, start doing CPR.

Place your hands together on the victim’s chest and push down hard in the center, just below their nipples, using the heel of your hand. Do this 100 to 120 times per minute. Between compressions, tilt the person’s head slightly and pinch their nose. Give two mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. Continue this cycle until professional help arrives.

Heimlich Maneuver

This series of abdominal thrusts can dislodge a foreign object, causing someone to choke. This emergency first aid technique was developed in 1972 after a doctor read about many people dying from choking in his local newspaper.

When a person is choking, they cannot speak or cough, and their breathing becomes weaker and faster. They may make high-pitched noises or no sound at all. This is a life-threatening situation, and knowing the Heimlich Maneuver can help save lives until emergency professionals arrive.

Stand behind the choking person and angle your feet slightly in front of them for added stability. Clench your fist and place it above the navel but below the rib cage. Pull your fist sharply backward and upward a few times fairly quickly.

First Aid for Choking

Choking is a hazardous situation and can be fatal if not treated quickly. It occurs when an object becomes stuck in a person’s windpipe or throat, blocking airflow to their lungs. Food, toys, or other things can cause this.

Symptoms of choking include coughing, trying to breathe, turning blue from lack of oxygen (cyanosis), and collapsing unconscious.

Stand behind the choking person and place your arms around their waist to perform the procedure. Clench one fist and position it above the victim’s navel or belly button. With your other hand, grasp this fist and pull sharply inward and upwards. Repeat this up to five times.

First Aid for Burns

Burn injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical assistance. Remove clothing unless it sticks to the burned area; remove jewelry and watches before the wound swells; and wash the affected skin in cool water. Avoid applying ointments, butter, or sprays.

If the burn is on a hand or foot, place it in a clean plastic bag and lay it lengthways rather than wrapping it around a limb, as this can cause hypothermia (sudden drop in body temperature). Keep the person warm.

For electrical burns, turn off the electricity or unplug the appliance; for chemical burns, flush with plenty of cool running water for up to 20 minutes. If the injured person is unconscious or not breathing, call 111 and perform CPR if you know how.

First Aid for Broken Bones

If you suspect a person has a broken bone, call 911 immediately for emergency medical help. Do not move the victim unless necessary, especially if the injury is to a spine, skull, ribs, pelvis, or upper leg.

Move the victim only if their airway is blocked, they aren’t breathing, or their neck or back hurts (a possible spinal cord injury). Don’t try to straighten or push a bone that sticks out through the skin.

Isolate the injured area with a splint or sling, and keep it immobile. Apply cold to help control swelling and pain, using an ice pack or bag of ice cubes wrapped in a cloth. Watch for signs of shock (e.g., rapid, deep breaths). Treat for shock by helping the person get into a comfortable position, encouraging them to rest and reassurance, and covering them with a blanket or clothing.

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