You never know when or where an accident might occur. You never know when a family member or co-worker will suddenly fall ill. The fact is that the world is unpredictable. But that does not mean you cannot be prepared. Learning some basic first aid techniques is one of the easiest and most effective ways to be prepared when an emergency occurs.

First aid is defined as emergency medical care provided in the moments immediately following an incident. First-aid is not intended to be long-term medical care. Rather, it is intended to keep the patient going until more comprehensive treatment is available. It can be performed by just about anyone who knows what to do.

Note that learning basic first aid skills goes above and beyond learning where to find the Seton first aid supplies at work. First aid training is all about action. It is about teaching you how to respond so that you can make a difference when someone else is in trouble.

To illustrate the point, here are some first-aid basics everyone should know:

Stopping Profuse Bleeding

Profuse bleeding can lead to death if it is not brought under control. Thus, one of the first things students learn in first aid training is how to stop it. The thing about profuse bleeding is that it is unlikely to stop on its own since the body cannot produce clots fast enough. So how do you stop bleeding manually?

The two main techniques taught in first aid training are direct pressure and utilising pressure points. Direct pressure is the practice of applying pressure directly to the wound to slow the flow of blood. When it works, it slows down the bleeding and gives the body time to coagulate.

Utilising pressure points is a technique of actually cutting off blood supply to the wound by applying pressure to the proper artery. It is a technique generally reserved for those times when it is necessary to prevent someone from bleeding out.

Treating Shock

Shock is fairly common following serious injuries and accidents. It occurs when the brain doesn't get enough blood. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to treat. Patients are encouraged to lie on their backs with feet elevated. Then they are covered with a blanket, jacket, etc. to keep them warm. After some time lying down and with nothing to eat or drink, most patients fully recover.

Treating Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when a person's body temperature drops too low. Treating it begins with learning to recognise the symptoms. A person with hypothermia needs to be warmed up as quickly as possible. Sometimes this means removing wet clothing or giving the patient a hot beverage.

Much of what goes into hypothermia treatment depends on what is available in that particular environment. For example, you will not find the same available resources out on a hiking trail as you would in the middle of a city.

Performing CPR

Heart attack victims may require CPR to stay alive until professional help arrives. Learning CPR is a bit more advanced in terms of first aid training, but it is well worth the time and effort. CPR saves lives by forcing a stopped heart to continue pumping blood. Think of CPR as operating the heart manually. That is essentially what you're doing when you perform it.

Performing the Heimlich Manoeuvre

The Heimlich Maneuver is the maneuver we now use to help someone who is choking. It is a technique that relies on force delivered by an upward abdominal thrust to dislodge whatever the person is choking on. The reason it is so important to learn this maneuver is that doing it incorrectly could result in serious injury. Along those same lines, the procedure is performed differently on children. A gentler technique must be used so as not to injure little ones.

Treating Burns

Finally, treating burns soon after they occur can limit damage and prevent infection. Burns are rated as being first, second, or third-degree – the most severe being third degree. First aid courses teach students how to immediately treat burns before transporting a victim to the hospital.

First aid training also covers minor burns, likesunburn for example. We might not necessarily consider sunburn a medical emergency, but proper first aid techniques can reduce pain and minimise the risks of more severe burns later on. As such, it is a good idea to treat sunburn as soon as possible.

Knowing basic first aid techniques puts you in a position to take action during a medical emergency. If you are interested in learning more, just do an internet search on 'first aid training'. Free training courses are available through local fire departments, the Red Cross, and numerous charitable organisations. Basic courses can be completed in just a few sessions. More advanced courses can be taken after basic certification is achieved.