The aims of first aid – the three Ps
A simple way to remember the aims of first aid is to think of the “Three Ps” – Preserve / Prevent / Promote.
A first aider has a number of roles and responsibilities in an emergency situation but all first aiders should be aware of the key aims of first aid.
Your first aim is to preserve life by carrying out emergency first aid procedures. For example, opening a casualty’s airway or performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Preserving life should always be the overall aim of all first aiders. Remember though, this includes your own life! You should never put yourself or others in danger.
This is why the first stage in assessing a casualty (think DRABC) is to conduct a risk assessment and check for any dangers to yourself or bystanders.
If a situation is too dangerous to approach, you should stay back and call for professional help.
The second aim of first aid is to prevent the casualty’s condition from deteriorating any further. For example, asking a casualty with a broken limb to stay still and padding around the injury will prevent the fracture from moving and causing further injury or pain.
In addition, this aim includes preventing further injuries. You should attempt to make the area as safe as possible and removing any dangers.
If removing danger is not possible you should attempt to remove the patient from the danger or call for specialist help.
Finally, you can promote recovery by arranging prompt emergency medical help. In addition, simple first aid can significantly affect the long-term recovery of an injury. For example, quickly cooling a burn will reduce the risk of long-term scarring and will encourage early healing.