Learn First Aid

The Basics
Knowing basic first aid can help you deal with injuries and emergencies.

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Sign up for a first aid class in your community.

Start Today: Small Steps


The Basics

Do you know what to do in an emergency? 

An accident or emergency – like a heart attack or choking – can happen at any time. You can give first aid to someone until medical help arrives. Taking action right away can save a life.

Take these steps now so you’ll be ready in an emergency:

Remember, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared for injuries and emergencies. Simple actions can save lives.

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Know when to call 911.

Call 911 if someone needs help right away, including if someone is:

If you are with a group of people in an emergency, choose 1 person to call 911. That way, everyone knows who is in charge of calling for help.

Learn more about how to use 911.

The 911 operator is trained to help you. When you call 911, it’s important that you:

Teach your children how to use 911 External Links Disclaimer Logo and keep the number next to the phone. Make sure everyone can reach the phone, especially children.

Learn what to do when someone is choking. 

When someone is choking on something and they can’t talk, cough very much, or breathe, it’s important to act right away. Brain damage can happen just 4 to 6 minutes after someone has started choking.

Ask someone to call 911 right away, then tell the person who is choking that you will try to help.

Stand behind the person and do back blows (hitting between the shoulder blades), abdominal thrusts (also called the Heimlich maneuver), or both. Watch this video from the American Red Cross External Links Disclaimer Logo to learn how to do it.

If you are alone and choking, you can do the Heimlich maneuver on yourself.

Learn what to do when someone is bleeding.

Losing too much blood is very dangerous, and it can happen quickly. If someone is bleeding badly, call 911 and try to stop the bleeding while you wait for medical help. 

Press on the wound very firmly and steadily until the bleeding stops. If you can, find something clean to put between your hands and the bleeding, like a piece of cloth or a plastic bag. Learn more about how to stop bleeding.

Don’t try to stop bleeding with salt, baking powder, or other products. These don’t help bleeding and may cause an infection.

Learn how to comfort someone who needs help.

Calm, comforting words can help people during a medical emergency. If someone is hurt, ask how you can help. People who are hurt or in shock often feel cold, so try to keep them warm and calm until help arrives. Check out this online training about comforting someone in a medical emergency

Learn lifesaving skills to help you react faster and better.

Taking a class can teach you how to give first aid and CPR, and how to use an AED correctly. This training will give you the confidence and knowledge to respond quickly and safely in an emergency.

You can take first aid and CPR/AED classes separately or together – and you can learn to help people of all ages, from newborn babies to adults.

Ready to get started?  Find a first aid and CPR/AED class in your community. External Links Disclaimer Logo

Keep a first aid kit nearby.

A first aid kit has the things you need to treat someone who is hurt. It includes supplies like bandages, tape, and scissors. Always keep a kit nearby – including in your home and car.

Make sure each first aid kit has directions on how to treat basic injuries and when to get more help.  Use this list to check the supplies in your first aid kit. When you use supplies from the kit, remember to replace them.

Learn and remember the location of first aid kits and AEDs in public places, at work, and at school.

Start Today: Small Steps

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