Basic Considerations In First Aid by Adewale Egunsola


The basic things you consider when you want to administer First Aid is DRABCD.

This stands D – Danger, R – Response, A – Airway, B – Breathing, C – Compression, D – Defibrillation.

Put your safety first as a first aider. Then check for any signs of danger at or near the casualty. If possible move the danger away and if not, move the casualty away.

Call to the casualty asking if you can help. Get closer, knee beside him/her and ask questions such as “what’s happened”? loudly and clearly or give a command “open your eyes”. Grasp his/her shoulders and shake gently. If there is no response, shout for help. Then follow ABCD procedure.

Open the airway by placing one hand on the casualty’s forehead and gently titling the head back. Then lift the chin using two fingers.

Check for breathing by placing your cheek and ear next to the casualty’s mouth and nose and look along the chest to see if it is moving (rising and falling). Listen and feel for breath for up to 10 seconds. If he/she is breathing, put in the recovery position and check for other life-threatening conditions. Monitor his/her consciousness, look for his/her response level and arrange for medical aid. If the casualty is not breathing, call for help and then commence resuscitation.

Kneel beside the casualty and locate the breastbone. Place the heel of your hand on it. Then place the heel of the other hand on the other one on the breastbone and interlock your fingers. Compress the chest with straight arms and a straight back pressing straight down. Repeat the compression a total of 30 times at the rate of 100 compressions per minute.

After 30 compressions, give 2 rescue breaths. This is done by keeping the head in the tilted back with a good jaw lift. Then using the thumb and fore-finger from the hand on the fore-head to pinch the nose. Take a breath, then place your mouth over the casualty’s and breathe into the casualty’s mouth until the chest starts to rise. Then take your mouth away from the casualty’s mouth and watch the chest fall. This enables you to breath in fresh air, so you can give the casualty another breath, repeating the process. This will make a total of two effective breaths. Continue with cardiopulmonary resuscitation {CPR} by repeating the 30:2 cycles until a defibrillator or medical aid is available.

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Defibrillation is a process in which an electronic device sends an electric shock to the heart to stop an extremely rapid, irregular heartbeat, and restore the normal heart rhythm. Defibrillation is performed to correct life-threatening fibrillations of the heart, which could result in cardiac arrest. It should be performed immediately after identifying that the casualty is experiencing a cardiac emergency, has no pulse, and is unresponsive. This is achieved with the use of a defibrillator, {notably Automated External Defibrillator – AED}. It should not be used on a sweat or wet chest. You have to continue with CPR before the arrival of a defibrillator.

1. Check for danger.
2. Check for response.
3. Open the airway.
4. Check for normal breathing.
5. If not breathing, phone for help.
6. Give 30 chest compressions.
7. Give 2 rescue breathe (30:2).
8. Continue with CPR until help comes.

RESUSCITATION – CHILD (1 year to puberty) and INFANT (below 1 year)
1. Give initial 5 rescue breaths before starting chest compressions after considering 1-4 above.
2. Then continue at the ratio of 30 chest compressions to 2 rescue breaths. Compress the chest of a child with the heel of one hand only and that of an infant with two fingers.
3. If you are on your own, perform resuscitation for about a minute before going for help.
4. Compress the chest by about one-third of its depth.

1. Keel on both knees near to the chest of the casualty.
2. Straighten the casualty legs.
3. Place the arm nearest to you at right angles to the body with palm up.
4. Reach across for the other arm and place the back of the casualty’s hand against his/her cheeks.
5. Hold his/her hand in position with your hand.
6. Reach across the farthest thigh and lift the leg until the farthest foot is next to the nearest knee with the foot flat on the ground.
7. Pull on the thigh until the casualty is resting on his/her side.
8. Adjust the jaw to ensure that it is forward.
9. Then check if: The jaw is forward.

The mouth is low.
The chest clear off the ground. (JMC).

*Adewale  is a member of Nigerian Red Cross Society.