Accidents happen, and you are likely to encounter an emergency at one point or another. It could be a car accident you are a witness to or the fall of an elderly person at your home. First aid knowledge helps to tackle such situations. It relies on simple techniques that do not require much medical equipment and is intended only for the short time interval before professional help arrives. If you are unaware of basic first aid, you won’t be of any use, or you may do more harm than benefit if you try to intervene. Unintentional injuries and falls account for 173,040 and 39,443 deaths globally. So, knowing what to do may even be a matter of life or death for the victim.
If you don’t have basic first aid training yet, there is no need to worry. A standard Basic Life Support Certification takes only about 4 hours, after which you give an exam to become a certified first-aid provider. A BLS course trains subjects to recognize emergencies, provide chest compressions and ventilations, resolve airway obstructions (choking), and other basic procedures. Completion certifies you for the next two years in first aid. After its expiry, you can revise your certification. For most service providers like nurses and police officers who are likely to encounter emergencies, getting a BLS certification is mandatory.
Let us discuss why first aid skills – like those gained through BLS certification courses – are crucial for every individual in any field.
1. First aid intervention saves lives
Research by Red Cross showed that about 59% of injury-related deaths could have been prevented if the victims had received first aid before the medical team arrived. For most medical emergencies, time spent without treatment worsens the situation. Seizures, strokes, heart attacks, ingestion of poisonous substances, and injuries are some situations that require immediate help. For instance, when someone experiences a cardiac arrest, immediate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is the only way to keep the heart beating. If not for instant CPR, the victim will likely pass away before help arrives. Knowing how to treat airway blockage (choking) with abdominal thrusts of the Heimlich Manoeuvre also saves lives. Similarly, injuries that cause bleeding can cause significant blood loss if you cannot stop the bleeding in time.
2. It allows you to maximize patient comfort until help arrives
For non-life-threatening injuries, first aid minimizes pain and discomfort. A broken or fractured bone is a sensitive issue where the first intervention makes a huge difference. However, you should immediately call for help in cases of profuse bleeding, an injury to the head, spine, hip, or pelvis or protruding bones. First aid teaches you how to deal with such injuries without worsening the situation; for instance, if you try to straighten a bone yourself, it causes more damage. Moving a person with a head or spinal injury can lead to paralysis or even death. If in a life-threatening situation, you have no choice but to move the person. So, first aid training teaches you how to keep the person’s spine and head in a straight line by rolling the victim over. Also, the training includes instructions to minimize patient discomfort and pain for other injuries like burns and blisters.
3. It promotes the safety of those around you
Medical emergencies are more likely when you live in a household with the elderly and children. Older people are vulnerable to falls and their impacts. Research shows that around 36 million fall-related incidents are reported in the elderly annually, leading to 32,000 deaths. Children, on the other hand, are explorative and adventurous but not as well-coordinated as adults. Hence, they are vulnerable to accidents. Secondly, infants are more susceptible to seizures because of their less-developed internal systems. If someone in the family has first aid training, everyone stays safe, resulting in the prevention of many medical emergencies.
4. First aid certification opens job opportunities
With up-to-date first aid training, the range of jobs you can apply for becomes wider. Some professions like social work, childcare service, firefighting, construction work, fitness instruction, etc., have this as a requirement. In other professions, although not compulsory, first aid certification improves your CV and makes you stand out among the crowd.
5. First aid training teaches your how to prevent infections
For an injured person, infections can make situations a lot worse than they already are. How you deal with the injury matters a lot in the long-term prognosis. An untrained individual might take the wrong step, like using hydrogen peroxide on wounds. First aid training teaches you the basics of infection control that can promote better healing. These may include washing hands, wearing disposable gloves, cleaning bodily fluids, cleaning clothes with bleach, and other measures.
6. It reduces your anxiety about medical emergencies
Going into a medical emergency blindly is always stressful. With first aid knowledge, you can reduce the fear of not knowing what to do, the anxiety of waiting for professional aid, and the helplessness felt when not doing anything to help. It gives you the confidence to intervene and support in an emergency.
First aid skills give you control over an emergency and the peace of mind that comes with it. When you know how best to handle a medical emergency to ensure the best outcomes, others around you are safe. You know how to reduce the threat to one’s life and prevent a situation from worsening. With all this knowledge, you are also better candidates for certain social professions. First aid certification is something you should undoubtedly add to your bucket list.