The Four Steps of First Aid

First aid is the immediate medical assistance given to an ill or injured person until professional help arrives to take over. There are four basic steps to performing emergency first aid.

These four first aid steps are:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Implement
  • Evaluate

In this first aid blog post we will take a closer look at the four basic first aid steps.

Step 1: Assess the situation

Assess the situation and check for any potential dangers to yourself, bystanders or the patient

  • check for safety before rushing to the injured patient
  • make sure the situation is safe for you, the casualty, and other people or bystanders
  • if the situation is too dangers, stay back and await professional assistance

Assess the person’s condition:

  • is the victim suffocating or bleeding heavily? In these cases, act immediately and appropriately
  • is the person conscious?
  • is the person breathing normally?

Assess for injuries, signs of shock or psychological trauma.

Step 2: Plan for interventions

Get help:

  • call for help or ask someone to call for medical or professional help

Plan first aid interventions:

  • plan what action to take until professional help arrives, based on the initial or primary assessment
  • determine how much help you can give based on what you know and what skills you have
  • ensure your own ongoing safety as a rescuer

Step 3: Implement first aid

Implement first aid:

  • give first aid for life-threatening emergencies and specific injuries based on the initial assessment
  • if emergency services are arriving very soon, do not splint injuries
  • maintain safety and wait for assistance Give psychological first aid:
  • talk to person and family
  • inform them what is happening and what you are doing If it is necessary, prepare the person for transportation

Step 4: Evaluate the situation

Evaluate first aid actions:

  • check that medical or professional assistance will arrive soon
  • check that the scene remains safe. If not, consider moving the person as carefully as possible with help from bystanders or other rescuers
  • re-check the actions after the initial assessment
  • check that bandages are still in place and bleeding has stopped. If not, do NOT remove existing dressings, but simply add more dressings and apply pressure
  • if the person becomes unconscious, follow actions for basic life support (BLS)
  • hand over the person to medical or professional personnel when they arrive
  • find out which hospital, clinic or health centre will provide care
  • inform family and relatives

First Aid Principles

The four principles of first aid management are:

  1. Stay calm. Do not take risks for yourself, the injured person or any witnesses.
  2. Manage the situation to give safe access to the person.
  3. Manage the patient in line with current first aid guidance
  4. Do things step by step

Want to learn more?

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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