You don’t need to be a doctor to be a good first aider, nor do you need to have a specific diploma. If you are motivated, you can follow a short training course. Faced with all emergency situations, the same simple sequence of actions must be initiated. The first is to identify the urgent nature of the situation.
“One evening when you come home, you notice a person lying on a bench. Is it a person who has just felt unwell or a dozing onlooker? Dare to approach, observe, speak. If in doubt, consider that it is an emergency situation and call for help, explains Doctor Pierre Weill-Raynal (anesthesiologist-resuscitator, European Georges-Pompidou Hospital, Paris). Above all, don’t leave saying to yourself: I do not know. »
First aid courses exist
Once the emergency situation has been identified, the following sequences aim, in order, to protect, alert and rescue. Protect yourself first (from traffic for example) and protect the victim. To raise the alarm, a single number has been set up throughout Europe, 112. A regulator will then redirect you, depending on the situation, to the Samu, the firefighters or the police… 114, alert number for the deaf and hard of hearing, allows you to send SMS.
To help, as soon as you are online with an emergency service, you will be guided on what to do. A few gestures should be known.
“First, you have to ask yourself if the victim is unconscious. In this case, she does not react to simple questions. Is she breathing? Does his chest rise regularly? If she is unconscious and no longer breathing, it is a cardiac arrest. If she is unconscious but breathing, she is in neurological distress. She must be put in a lateral safety position, lying on her side, adds Pierre Weill-Raynal. If she is conscious, with breathing difficulties, the half-sitting position will make breathing easier. If she feels unwell, without loss of consciousness and without respiratory problems, lay her flat and raise her legs… In the event of serious trauma, do not move the victim so as not to aggravate any possible spinal injuries. »
Furthermore, when faced with a hemorrhage, some basic rules must be respected. The first treatment is compression using compresses or, failing that, a piece of fabric. If this is not enough, a tourniquet can be made. In the event of a foreign body in the wound (knife, metal shards or other, etc.), you should never attempt to remove them, as this risks aggravating the bleeding.
First aid courses allow you to learn in practice all these techniques and other life-saving actions, such as the Heimlich maneuver in case of food misdirection or the first actions in the face of a significant burn.