Skip to main content

First Aid Tips

Paramedics treating a child with a skateboarding injury

Visit our 9-11 Response section for more information on Ambulance Emergencies.

 

For external bleeding (when blood escapes from the surface wound and can be seen) remember RED:

  • Rest patient
  • Elevate wounded limb
  • Direct pressure on wound
*Do not appyl a tourniquet
 
Signs and Symptoms
  • Patient heard bone "snap"
  • Deformity at the site of the fracture or pain at the site of the fracture
  • Impaired movement of limb
Action (serious fractures involving injuries to the body, neck or back)
  • Call 9-1-1
  • Do not move the patient
  • Help the patient find a comfortable position
  • Control bleeding if present

Burns can be caused by fire, the sun, chemicals, heated objects or fluids, and electricity. They vary in severity and can range from minor problems to life-threatening emergencies. Distinguishing a minor burn from a more serious burn involves determining the degree of damage to the tissues of the body. If you are not sure how serious the burn is call 9-1-1.


First-degree burns are those in which only the outer layer of skin is burned. The skin is usually red and some swelling and pain may occur. Unless the burn involves large portions of the body, it can be treated at home.

Second-degree burns are those in which the first layer of skin has been burned through and the second layer of skin is also burned. In these burns, the skin reddens intensely and blisters develop. Severe pain and swelling also occur. If a second degree burn is no larger than 2 or 3 inches in diameter, it can be treated at home. If the burn covers a larger area, call 9-1-1.

Third-degree burns are the most serious and involve all layers of skin. Fat, nerves, muscles, and even bones may be affected. Areas may be charred black or appear a dry white. If nerve damage is substantial, there may be no pain at all. In these cases call 9-1-1 immediately.

Action
Follow these steps when treating minor burns at home:
  • Cover the area of the burn with clean, water moistened dressing
  • Apply clean water to dressed burn, to cool, as required
  • Never put any medication on the burn unless a doctor directs you to do so
  • Do not use creams, lotions, butter, etc.
Action
For major burns, call 9-1-1 and follow these steps until paramedics arrive:
  • Do not remove any material stuck to the skin
  • Cover the burned area with a cool, moist, sterile bandage or clean cloth
  • Do not place any creams, ointments or ice on the burned area
 
Signs and Symptoms
  • Remember a choking patient cannot speak to you
  • If the patient is coughing or can speak- do nothing
  • If they cannot breath or speak to you, take action
Action (Adults)
  • Reassure the patient
  • For a conscious victim position yourself behind them and reach your arms around their waist.
  • Place your fist, thumb side in, just above the victim’s navel and grab the fist tightly with your other hand.
  • Pull your fist abruptly upwards and inwards
  • Repeat until the object is expelled
Action (Infants)
  • Lay the infant face down, along your forearm, use your thigh/ lap for support
  • Hold the infant’s chest in your hand and jaw with your fingers
  • Point the infant’s head downward, lower than the body
  • Give up to 5 quick, forceful blows between the infant’s shoulder blades (using the heel of your free hand)
 

Fire emergency examples:

  • Presence of smoke
  • Presence of fire
  • Presence of toxic fumes
Action
  • In British Columbia, call 9-1-1 for fire emergencies
  • State which community you are calling from and provide your address
 
 
Action
  • Do not induce vomiting unless you are certain of the poison and know the correct treatment.
  • For information regarding poisons and appropriate first aid treatment call the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC).
  • The BC Drug and Poison Information Centre 24-Hour line is: 
    • Phone: 604-682-5050
    • Toll Free: 1-800-567-8911
  • If the person is unconscious, convulsing, or having trouble breathing or swallowing call 911 immediately
Prevention
  • Teach your children these symbols to prevent poisonings.

Police emergency examples:

  • Crime in progress
  • Suspicious person
  • Child or elderly person missing
  • Personal injury
Action

In British Columbia:

  • Call 9-1-1 (emergency)
  • Call 604-717-3321 (non-emergency)

Signs and Symptoms

  • Alternating contraction and relaxation of muscle groups
  • Eye movements and turning of the head to the same side
  • Speech arrest, vocalization
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart rate
Action
  • Do not attempt to restrain patient
  • Do not attempt to force anything between the patient’s teeth
  • Beware of the possibility of the patient causing personal injury by striking surrounding objects, during the seizure (remove objects, if possible)
  • When seizure is over place patient in the recovery position
  • Call 9-1-1, if symptoms persist
 

Signs and Symptoms

  • An extremely low blood pressure
  • Fast, but weak pulse
  • Dizziness, faintness or light-headedness
  • Feeling weak or nauseous
  • Moist, clammy skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Unconsciousness
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Feeling anxious, agitated or confused
  • Blue lips and fingernails
Action
  • Act immediately
  • Keep patient lying down
  • Reassure patient
  • Elevate patient’s legs
  • Keep patient warm – avoid overheating
  • Watch patient carefully
  • Do not give the patient anything to drink – especially alcohol
 

Actions

  • If a spinal injury is suspected, shout into patient’s ear for response. Do not shake.
If a spinal injury is not suspected, shake shoulders and shout in ear for response.
  • If there is no other response: look, listen, and feel for breathing
If patient is not breathing:
  • Open the airway, push forehead back and hold
  • Clear out mouth, if necessary, with fingers;
  • Remove dentures only if loose
  • Give mouth to mouth resuscitation (one breath every five seconds)
If patient is breathing:
  • Place him or her in the recovery position to prevent choking
 

SOURCE: First Aid Tips ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Emergency Health Services. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2017 Provincial Health Services Authority.