Introduction to First-Aid

In the workplace it is often the job of a Certified First Aid Provider to assist in stabilizing an injured or ill person until professional medical help arrives. Certified First Aid Providers are persons who are certified and trained to certain levels in first aid and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). Federal regulations state, "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic or hospital in the near proximity of the work-place which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. First aid supplies approved by the consulting physician shall be readily available."

First Responder is a trade name for a 40-hour certification course in advanced first aid and CPR. Hospitals, technical colleges or fire departments teach this course, and certification must be updated biannually. Basic First Aid and CPR courses are approximately eight hours long, and are certified through a number of nationally recognized organizations such as The American Red Cross, The American Heart Association and The National Safety Council. These certifications also should be updated biannually.

Informed, trained citizens are indispensable in helping people in emergencies. To help citizens be more prepared for emergency situations, the American Red Cross trains people in first aid and CPR. Due to the increased need for first aid services, the development of the EMS (Emergency Medical Services) has been established in most communities. It remains, however, equally important that citizens are trained in first aid and know what to do until the EMS or other emergency medical professional arrives.

First Aid and Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are diseases that pass from one person to another. Most commonly these are referred to as bloodborne or airborne pathogens. In first aid, blood-borne and airborne pathogens are most commonly transmitted through touching, breathing and biting. People can become infected if touched by an infected person or if the germs in that person's blood or other bodily fluids pass into the body through breaks in the skin, or through the lining of the mouth, nose or eyes. Therefore, the greatest risk is in touching an-other person's blood or bodily fluids directly (without protective gloves or some other protective barrier). Below are some basic guidelines to follow that will help reduce body fluid transmission when rendering first aid care.

By following these simple guidelines, you can reduce the risk of getting or transmitting infectious diseases.

Good Samaritan Laws

Most states have enacted Good Samaritan Laws to en-courage people to help others in emergency situations. These laws give legal protection to people who provide emergency care to ill or injured persons. They require that the "Good Samaritan" use common sense and a reasonable level of skill not to exceed the scope of the individual's training in emergency situations.

If you're interested in learning more about the Good Samaritan laws in Oklahoma, contact a local legal professional or check your local library.

Basic First Aid Procedures

Following are some basic first aid techniques for treating shock, bleeding and wounds, burns, choking, electric shock, eye injury, fainting, heat stroke, hypothermia, and unconscious-ness. These techniques can be used in the workplace or at home and being prepared will help make the most of a serious situation. 

Shock

Shock can be life threatening. Symptoms include cold sweat, weakness, irregular breathing, chills, pale or bluish lips and fingernails, rapid weak pulse, and nausea.  Call 911 or seek medical help immediately.

Bleeding and Wounds

Burns

  1.      Chemical or Compressed Gas Burns

  2.      Heat or Electrical Burns

Choking

Note: These instructions are for choking victims over one year of age. There are specific guide-lines for treatment of infants choking that are not outlined in this document.

If the victim becomes unconscious:

Electric Shock

Eye Injury

1.      Chemical

  2.      Cut, Scratch or Embedded Object

Fainting

Note: Fainting victims regain consciousness almost immediately. If this does not happen, the victim could be in serious danger and you should call 911 as soon as possible.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can be life threatening. Symptoms can include a body temperature of 105įF or higher; dry, hot, flushed skin; rapid pulse, unconsciousness, and lack of perspiration.

Hypothermia (Prolonged exposure to the cold)

Hypothermia can also be life threatening. Symptoms include lower than normal body temperature, shivering, apathy, disorientation, drowsiness, and eventually unconsciousness.

Unconsciousness

Determine responsiveness by gently tapping the victim's shoulder and asking; "Are you O.K.?"  If there is no response, look for a medical alert tag on the victimís neck or wrist and immediately seek assistance.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q. How can I best prepare my workplace for an emergency?

A.     Always have a stocked first aid kit and emergency equipment handy.
Establish an emergency responder program in the workplace.
Always consider safety first. By adopting a safety program, you can keep work-related accidents to a minimum.

Q. Can I be sued for providing first aid care in an emergency?

A. People rarely sue someone for helping in an emergency, but it does happen on occasion. However, if you act as a reasonable and prudent person would under these conditions, Good Samaritan immunity will generally protect you.

Q. When should I call for assistance?

A. If the victim is unconscious, call 911 or your local emergency number. If the victim is conscious, call an ambulance unless they ask that an ambulance not be called; call 911 or an ambulance anyway IF the victim: