What to Do Until Help Arrives

If someone with you is sick or hurt, follow these basic first aid steps

  • Check the scene. Make sure it is safe for you to get closer, then check the injured person to see if he/she has any life-threatening conditions (i.e., constant or sudden chest pain, trouble breathing, heavy bleeding, lack of consciousness, or severe injuries from falls, head wounds, or burns).
  • Call for help. If the injured person has any of the life-threatening conditions listed above, call 911 right away, or have someone else call while you stay with the person.
  • Care. Do your best to comfort the sick person and prevent further injury until emergency workers arrive. Here are some ways you can help:
Control Bleeding
  • Cover wounds with a pad, bandage, or cloth and press firmly.
  • If there are no broken bones, lift and keep the injured area above the level of the heart.
  • If the bleeding does not stop, put on extra bandages, and squeeze the artery against the bone at a point between the injury and the heart (usually inner legs or inner arms).
Care for Shock
  • Keep the injured person from getting either too cold or too hot.
  • Lift and keep the legs about 12 inches above the floor or ground (if no broken bones).
  • Do not let the injured person eat or drink anything.
Tend Burns
  • Cool the burned area with lots of cool water.
  • Cover the burn with dry, clean bandages or cloth.
Care for Injuries to Muscles, Bones & Joints
  • Apply ice or a cold pack to control swelling and lessen pain.
  • Avoid movement or activity that causes the injured person any pain.
  • If you must move the victim because the area is unsafe, try to keep the injured part still.
Reduce Any Care Risks
The risk of getting a disease while giving first aid is rare. However, to lower the risk more:
  • Avoid direct contact with blood and other body fluids.
  • Use latex or rubber gloves if you have them.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water right away after giving first aid.