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ABCs Can Help Your First Aid Training

Photo shows a first aid training sessionComing across someone who has had an accident – or indeed being involved in or witnessing such – can be daunting. Thinking about it now, you may believe that you would panic; in fact, most people -when faced with such a situation – react with a calmness that may even surprise them, as your first instinct is to help in any way you can.

Non-trained persons can, in fact, do more harm than good, and not through their own fault. There are certain circumstances in which doing what seems natural may actually be the wrong thing, and may make things worse. This is why many people choose off their own back to take a first aid course.

When it comes to health and safety – and first aid – in the workplace it is a basic legal requirement that some of your personnel are trained in the basics, and that you have first aid kits available, and fully stocked, in accessible and easy to find locations.

Whether you are an individual looking to take a course in first aid, or an employer who wants to get a team trained and up and running, there is one set of letters that will soon become very familiar to you: ABC. What is ABC in first aid, and why is it vital to remember? That’s what we are about to tell you!

Why ABC?

Before we carry on, we need to stress that this article is aimed at people who are learning first aid for use in an emergency. It’s not for professionals, so will not tell you in detail what goes on. We are mainly going to talk about ABCs, and why you need to remember them if you’re to be a competent first-aider. Also, it is essential that you make sure you or someone else has called the emergency services, as they will take over as soon as they are able to attend. So, let’s get down to business!

ABC in this context stands for Airways, Breathing and Circulation. That should be quite self-explanatory. Basically, these are the three areas in which the victim of an accident – or perhaps of s seizure or other incident – can be critical, so they are the first things you should check. We will cover each individually, but to be brief, you need to make sure the patient’s airways are clear, that they are breathing and that they have adequate circulation.

Let’s have a look at each in more detail:

Airways – if a patient is unconscious, check the airway for blockage. This could be by their own tongue, by vomit, or by a foreign body in the throat. There are basic ways for checking this and for dealing with it that will be taught correctly on any good first aid course in London or elsewhere, and they need to be adhered to so that further damage is not caused to the patient.

If the patient is conscious you may notice that they are having trouble breathing, that they are labouring perhaps, or that the chest is moving in an unusual and none-rhythmic fashion. These are signs that the airway could be blocked, and in most cases expert help may be required.

Breathing – for unconscious patients, once the airway has been cleared, you need to check the patient is able to breathe properly. Bear in mind that a normal breathing rate is between 12 to 20 breaths a minute; time this with your or someone else’s watch, and if it is below this level, then you may need to consider CPR. Don’t worry, this will be taught to you at your first aid course in London, so you will know what to do should the need arise.

For conscious patients, you should be on the alert for signs or indications of any life-endangering conditions, such as severe asthma. Remember, you – or someone else – should have by no alerted the emergency services who will be on the scene, so you need to keep a close eye on the patient, keep them calm, and do your best to attend to any immediate problems.

Circulation – it can be difficult for lay first-aiders to detect that unconscious or non-breathing patient has adequate circulation. For this reason, some first-aid courses omit this stage. If you have ascertained that the patient has clear airways and is breathing adequately then you really have done as much as you can be expected to, but a check for a pulse may also be carried out. The main checks on circulation will be carried out by the professionals when they arrive.

In patients who are breathing and have clear airways there are certain signs that may indicate a lack of adequate circulation: these include pale or blue colours, and abnormal coldness, in the hands and fingers, which is the main signal an amateur should be looking out for.

The importance of the above checks is that you can relay this information to the person who answers the emergency call, and they can relay it to the first responder who has been put on the call. Your attention and checks put them a few steps ahead of where they would be if you had not been present, and you may well have helped in saving a life.

Choosing a First Aid Course

All good first aid courses in London – and elsewhere across the country – will teach attendees the basics of good first aid, and this will include greater detail about the ABCs. These are not expensive courses, and as an employer has a legal requirement to make sure that there are first-aiders on site, there will be many people taking each course.

It is a handy skill to have as you never know just when you may come across an accident or witness somebody having a seizure, stroke or other problematic incident, and a little knowledge – so they say – goes a long way. In the case of a first aid course, it could go a long way to saving someone’s life.

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