First Aid: A Skill Everyone Should Know

September 11th is World First Aid Day. From September 9 to 13, master classes of the Russian Red Cross dedicated to this day will be held in 66 regions of Russia. The events will be held in schools, universities, and parks of the country¹.

According to the Russian Red Cross, 70% of people who suffer from injuries die due to the failure to provide them with the necessary first aid². Often, a person’s life depends on the correct actions of family members, a neighbor or a passer-by on the street.

For the seriously injured, the time factor is of undeniable importance. Getting a person to the hospital within the first hour of an injury will provide the highest survival rate and a significant reduction in the risk of complications. This time is called the “golden hour”. After an hour of effort to stabilize the state, much more will have to be applied.

The rule of the so-called “golden hour” says: act quickly, do not panic, do no harm, use improvised means³.

Any action at the scene in emergency situations should be in the nature of saving the life of the victim, and it is very important not to lose precious seconds and minutes of the “golden hour”. Everyone can learn the elementary rules for first aid before the arrival of an ambulance.

Where to learn first aid

There is an opportunity to take first aid courses in almost all regions of Russia. Experts advise focusing on licensed educational centers and programs. You can study in them not only for a fee, but also for free².

Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Federal Fire Service

In order to enroll in training, you need to go to the website of departments in your region. The courses are taught by teachers and instructors who train firefighters, rescuers, law enforcement officers.

Medical schools and colleges

First aid courses are also organized in specialized educational institutions.

Red Cross

Currently, the RKK includes 81 regional branches, unites more than 500 thousand volunteers and members of the RKK. There are 38 accredited regional training centers for teaching the population how to provide first aid, 178 instructors and trainers are teaching children and adults.

The organization plans to launch a modern center for training the population in first aid skills in each region.

The Red Cross conducts master classes

From September 9 to 13, master classes of the Russian Red Cross (RKK) will be held in 66 regions of Russia , timed to coincide with World First Aid Day. The events will be held in schools, universities and parks of the country¹.

Master classes on teaching first aid skills for everyone will be held in partnership with the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and the All-Russian public movement of volunteers in the field of healthcare “Volunteers-Medics”.

“First aid master classes will include two blocks – theoretical and practical. At the same time, they will be held at five thematic stations, which will allow participants to learn how to act correctly in various situations. Moreover, students will work on the acquired knowledge on special mannequins and on each other, in teams,” said Victoria Makarchuk¹, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Red Cross.

  • At the first station, it will be possible to get acquainted with the algorithm of actions when providing first aid to the victim.
  • On the second – to learn how to provide assistance to the victim, who lost consciousness, but keeps breathing.
  • The third station will be dedicated to helping a person who is unconscious and not breathing.
  • The fourth is to help the victim with obstruction of the upper respiratory tract.
  • At the fifth station, instructors from the Russian Red Cross will teach students how to help a bleeding victim.

In Moscow, master classes from RKK will be held on September 10 and 11 in Gorky Park, as part of the Good Festival “City of Caring”.

When is first aid needed?

Competent first aid is necessary in situations such as an accident, a sharp attack of illness, poisoning.

Conditions in which first aid is provided:

  • lack of consciousness
  • cessation of breathing and circulation,
  • external bleeding,
  • foreign bodies in the upper respiratory tract,
  • injuries to various areas of the body,
  • burns, exposure to high temperatures or thermal radiation,
  • frostbite and other effects of exposure to low temperatures,
  • poisoning.

Algorithm for first aid in case of any accident

In order not to be taken by surprise in an emergency, the Ministry of Emergency Situations recommends adhering to the so-called universal first aid algorithm. These simple rules will help you cope with anxiety, not put your life at risk, and provide first aid to the victim in the most effective way⁴.

The main principle of rendering any help is do no harm! Follow it always!

In order not to get confused and competently provide first aid, it is important to follow the following sequence of actions.

1. Make sure that when giving first aid, nothing threatens you and you do not endanger yourself.

2. Ensure the safety of the victim and others (for example, remove the victim from a burning car).

3. Check for signs of life (pulse, breathing, pupillary reaction to light) and consciousness in the victim.

  • To check for breathing, you need to tilt the victim’s head back, bend over to his mouth and nose and try to hear or feel breathing.
  • To detect a pulse, place the pads of your fingers on the victim’s carotid artery.
  • To assess consciousness, it is necessary (if possible) to take the victim by the shoulders, shake gently and ask a question.

4. Call the experts:

  • 112 (from mobile phone),
  • 03 (ambulance, from city number),
  • 01 (rescuers).

5. Provide emergency first aid to the victim. Depending on the situation, this may be:

  • restoration of airway patency,
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation,
  • stop bleeding and other measures.

6. Provide the victim with physical and psychological comfort. Wait for the arrival of specialists.

Basic First Aid Techniques⁵

Artificial respiration

The techniques used for artificial lung ventilation (ALV) may be different. Mouth-to-mouth and mouth-to-nose artificial respiration is considered the most effective in providing first aid to a non-specialist.

Artificial ventilation of the lungs must be carried out immediately if natural breathing is not detected during examination of the victim.

mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration technique

1. Maintain a clear upper airway . Turn the head of the victim to one side and use your finger to remove mucus, blood, foreign objects from the oral cavity. Check the victim’s nasal passages, clean them if necessary.

2. Tilt the victim ‘s head back while holding the neck with one hand.

Do not change the position of the head of the victim with a spinal injury!

3. Cover the victim’s mouth with a tissue, handkerchief, piece of cloth or gauze to protect yourself from infections. Pinch the victim’s nose with your thumb and forefinger. Inhale deeply, press your lips tightly against the victim’s mouth. Exhale into the victim’s lungs.

The first 5-10 breaths should be fast (20-30 seconds), then 12-15 breaths per minute.

4. Watch the movement of the victim’s chest. If the chest of the victim rises when breathing in air, then you are doing everything right.

Indirect cardiac massage

If there is no pulse along with breathing, it is necessary to do an indirect heart massage.

An indirect (closed) heart massage, or chest compression, is the compression of the muscles of the heart between the sternum and spine in order to maintain a person’s blood circulation during cardiac arrest.

Attention! It is impossible to carry out a closed heart massage in the presence of a pulse.

Chest Compression Technique

1. Lay the victim on a flat hard surface.

2. Determine the location of the affected xiphoid process (this is the shortest and narrowest part of the sternum, its end).

3. Measure 2-4 cm upward from the xiphoid process – this is the point of compression.

4. Place the base of your hand on the compression point. In this case, the thumb should point either to the chin or to the stomach of the victim, depending on the location of the resuscitator. Place the other hand on top of one hand, fold your fingers into the lock. Pressing is carried out strictly with the base of the palm – your fingers should not come into contact with the victim’s sternum.

5. Perform rhythmic chest thrusts strongly, smoothly, strictly vertically, with the weight of the upper half of your body. Frequency – 100-110 pressures per minute. In this case, the chest should bend by 3-4 cm.

If mechanical ventilation is performed simultaneously with closed heart massage, every two breaths should alternate with 30 chest compressions.

First aid in case of an accident

In the event of an accident, do not remove the victim from the car and do not change his position

Death most often occurs with trauma or fracture of the spine. Even the most insignificant movement to help the victim lie down more comfortably can kill or make a person disabled.

Call an ambulance immediately after an injury if there is concern that the victim may be injured in the head, neck or spine. At the same time, monitor the patient’s breathing until the arrival of doctors.

First aid for bleeding

Arterial bleeding

Arterial bleeding is the most dangerous, as a person can lose a lot of blood in a short time, which can lead to death.

With arterial bleeding, the blood has a scarlet color and pulsates. Measures should be taken immediately to stop the bleeding.

When providing first aid for arterial bleeding, it is necessary:

  • press the thumb on the artery above the wound to stop or at least ease the bleeding;
  • apply a rubber or any other homemade tourniquet (for example, a belt, cord, etc.) to the artery above the wound – this will reduce blood loss;
  • leave a note indicating the time the tourniquet was applied;
  • bandage the wound.

After rendering assistance to the victim, he should be immediately sent to a specialized medical institution (hospital or clinic).

Venous bleeding

Unlike arterial bleeding, blood in venous bleeding is darker in color and does not pulsate. However, when large veins are affected, venous bleeding can also be dangerous and lead to death if the necessary measures are not taken in time.

When providing first aid for venous bleeding, it is necessary:

  • raise the injured limb up;
  • apply a pressure bandage to the wound, compressing the soft walls of the damaged vessel (in case of severe bleeding, apply a tourniquet above the wound);
  • send the victim to a healthcare facility.

Apply a clean cloth or sterile gauze dressing to the wound and hold it in place. Until the doctors arrive, this will be enough.

Attention! Stopping bleeding with a tourniquet can lead to limb amputation.

A tourniquet should only be used for severe bleeding, when the risk of death is greater than the risk of amputation.

Technique for applying a hemostatic tourniquet

  • Apply a tourniquet to clothing or a soft pad just above the wound.
  • Tighten the tourniquet and check the pulsation of the vessels: the bleeding should stop, and the skin below the tourniquet should turn pale.
  • Put a bandage on the wound.
  • Record the exact time the tourniquet was applied.

A tourniquet can be applied to the limbs for a maximum of 1 hour. After this time, the tourniquet must be loosened for 10-15 minutes. If necessary, you can tighten again, but no more than 20 minutes.

First aid for fractures

First aid for all fractures is the same and is aimed at restoring the integrity of the bone, stopping bleeding, antiseptic treatment of the wound, and immobilization of the limb.

When providing assistance to the patient, it is necessary to provide:

  • rest
  • immobility of the injured part of the body,
  • cold.

While assisting, try not to cause additional pain to the victim. The patient must be very carefully transported to a medical facility for medical care.

Fracture First Aid Technique

  • Assess the severity of the victim’s condition, determine the location of the fracture.
  • If there is bleeding, stop it.
  • Determine whether it is possible to move the victim before the arrival of specialists.

Do not carry the victim and do not change his position in case of spinal injuries!

  • Ensure the immobility of the bone in the area of ​​the fracture – immobilize. To do this, it is necessary to immobilize the joints located above and below the fracture.
  • Put on a tire. As a tire, you can use flat sticks, boards, rulers, rods, etc. The tire must be tightly, but not tightly fixed with bandages or plaster.

With a closed fracture, immobilization is performed over clothing. With an open fracture, you can not apply a splint to places where the bone protrudes outward.

First aid for poisoning

Depending on the type of toxin, poisoning is distinguished:

  • carbon monoxide,
  • toxic chemicals,
  • alcohol,
  • drugs,
  • food
  • and others.

First aid measures depend on the nature of the poisoning. The most common food poisoning is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. In this case, the victim is advised:

  • take 3-5 g of activated charcoal every 15 minutes for an hour;
  • to drink a lot of water;
  • refrain from eating;
  • be sure to see a doctor.

In addition, accidental or intentional drug poisoning and alcohol intoxication are common.

In these cases, first aid consists of the following steps:

  • Rinse the victim’s stomach. To do this, make him drink several glasses of salted water (for 1 liter – 10 g of salt and 5 g of soda). After 2-3 glasses, induce vomiting in the victim. Repeat these steps until the vomit is “clean”.
  • Dissolve 10-20 tablets of activated charcoal in a glass of water, let the victim drink it.
  • Wait for the experts to arrive.

First aid for burns

In case of a burn, it is necessary to immediately eliminate the damaging factor (boiling water or steam).

  • Cool the affected area with running water.
  • Bury with a damp bandage.
  • Provide peace.

Attention! Do not apply ointments, creams, oils, sour cream, etc. to the burn site. This may encourage infection. Also, you can not tear off clothes that have stuck to the wound (with severe burns), pierce blisters.

In the event of a chemical burn, you must:

  • place the affected area of ​​the skin under a stream of cold water and rinse for 20 minutes;
  • neutralize chemicals.

Different chemicals neutralize differently. In case of an acid burn, the affected area should be sprinkled with soda or washed with soapy water. In case of alkali burns, it is better to wash the affected area with dilute acetic acid.

After neutralization, apply a dressing with a sterile bandage or tissue napkin.

With frostbite

  • Keep the victim warm.
  • Take off any frozen or wet clothing.
  • Do not rub the victim with snow or a cloth – this will only injure the skin.
  • Wrap the frostbitten area of ​​the body.
  • Give the victim a hot sweet drink or hot food.

Help with fainting

  • If the person faints, put him in a comfortable horizontal position and provide fresh air (unbutton clothes, loosen belt, open windows and doors).
  • Sprinkle cold water on the face of the victim, pat him on the cheeks.
  • If you have a first-aid kit on hand, give a cotton swab moistened with ammonia to sniff.
  • If consciousness does not return within 3-5 minutes, call an ambulance immediately.
  • When the victim comes to, give him strong tea.

Help with drowning

  • Remove the victim from the water.
  • Place him on his stomach on his knee so that his head is down. Clear the oral cavity of foreign bodies (mucus, vomit, algae).
  • Check for signs of life.
  • In the absence of a pulse and breathing, immediately start mechanical ventilation and chest compressions.
  • After the restoration of breathing and cardiac activity, lay the victim on his side, cover him and ensure comfort until the arrival of paramedics.


  1. Master classes of the Russian Red Cross on first aid will be held in 66 regions from September 9 to 13 website
  2. Where to get first aid skills and why you need it website
  3. Rule of the “Golden Hour” site
  4. First aid algorithm website
  5. First aid. Training manual for persons obliged and (or) entitled to provide first aid. M. FGBU “TsNIIOIZ” of the Ministry of Health of Russia, 2018 – 97