First aid is the initial assistance given to a person who has been injured or gotten ill (casualty) using the locally available materials and generally accepted guideline before handing over to a more qualified and responsible person. First aid saves lives and knowing what to do in an emergency can make all the difference. First aid is a simple skill, but it has an incredible impact. Everyone should get the opportunity to learn it.

The First aid at work training course provides the comprehensive set of practical skills needed by first aiders in most workplaces to become a confident first aider at work. Giving both the ability and knowledge to deal with first aid emergencies. It meets the standards required to help comply with Health and Safety (First aid) regulations.

During disasters, fast and effective first aid saves lives.

When disaster strikes, it can often be hours or even days before medical experts arrive on the scene. By training volunteers and the general public in disaster-prone areas, we can ensure that more people know what to do to keep people alive.

In my life as a First aid instructor and volunteer, I have trained a minimum of 10,000 people within East Africa and several foreigners in different life-saving skills and one thing are for sure(from my experience), this is one skill which will make a great difference in your life and the lives of many. I have rescued hundreds of sick and injured people and there is no any satisfaction in this world than when you know that you have saved a life. I have received various testimonies of people I trained and they later saved life and all this made me change my career and lifestyle.

There are several organizations that train people on first aid and St John Ambulance is the leading first aid provider around the world. We believe that it’s absolutely unacceptable that so many people needlessly die - because no one could give them first aid when they needed it. St John offers a large number of first aid, safety and health training courses for the benefit of all including in disaster-prone areas.

First Aid is a very crucial life skill that everyone should have and the aim of First aid is to preserve life, promote recovery and prevent worsening of the condition.

By the end of the course, everyone is able to manage any incident(occurrence) where a person or people have been injured and able to take care of the injured until help is available; either until the ambulance has arrived or takes the casualty to the hospital.

First aiders need to be able to use the Primary Survey to deal with potentially life-threatening conditions in order of priority. The Primary Survey is a quick way for you to find out if someone has any injuries or conditions which are life-threatening. If you follow each step methodically, you can identify each life-threatening condition and deal with it in order of priority. This means following the steps DR.ABC: Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, and Circulation.

After you’ve used the Primary Survey, you can then move on to the Secondary Survey to question the casualty about what’s happened and to see if they have any other illnesses or conditions. As a first aider, you may also need to decide when they need an ambulance.

For the secondary survey, you start questioning the casualty about what’s happened and carefully check someone for any other injuries or illnesses. If you can, jot down everything you find out and give all this information to the emergency services or whoever takes responsibility for the child, like a parent.

You need to find out:

History: Question them about what happened leading up to them injuring themselves or feeling unwell? Ask those around them too and write everything down if they can. Ask them to describe exactly what happened leading up to them feeling unwell or injuring themselves.
For example, if they’ve had a car accident the impact on the car will help you work out what type of injury they could have.

Symptoms: What symptoms do they tell you they have? Ask them how they are feeling... Listen carefully to what they say and make notes, if possible.

Here are the key questions to ask them:

  • Can they feel any pain?
  • Can they describe the pain, e.g. is it constant or irregular, sharp or dull?
  • What makes the pain better or worse?
  • When did the pain start?

Medical history

Then, ask them to tell you their medical history. Use the word AMPLE to remember all the things you need to ask them:

  • Allergy – do they have any allergies?
  • Medication – are they taking any regular or prescribed medication?
  • Previous medical history – did they already have any conditions?
  • Last meal – when did they last eat something?
  • Event history – what happened?


Check the casualty over from head to toe, using all your senses – look, listen, feel and smell.
You may have to loosen, open, cut away or remove clothing. Ask their permission to do this and make sure you’re sensitive and discreet.

Make a note of any minor injuries as you go. Only return to these when you have finished checking the whole body, to make sure you don’t miss any more serious injuries.

Head to toe examination

  • Breathing and pulse: How fast and strong is their breathing and pulse?
  • Bleeding: Check the body from head-to-toe for any bleeding.
  • Head and neck: Is there any bleeding, swelling, sensitivity or a dent in the bone, which could mean a fracture?
  • Ear: Do they respond when you talk to them? Is there any blood or clear fluid coming from either ear? If so, this could mean a serious head injury.
  • Eyes: Are they open? What size are their pupils (the black bit)? If they’re different sizes this could mean a skull fracture.
  • Nose: Is there any blood or clear fluid coming from the nostrils? This could mean a serious head injury.
  • Mouth: Check their mouth for anything which could block their airway. Look for mouth injuries or burns in their mouth and anything unusual in the line of their teeth.
  • Skin: Note the color and temperature of their skin. Pale, cold, clammy skin suggests shock. A flushed, hot face suggests fever or heatstroke. A blue tinge suggests lack of oxygen from an obstructed airway, poor circulation, or asthma.
  • Neck: Loosen any clothing around their neck to look for signs like a medical warning medallion or a hole in their windpipe. Run your fingers down their spine without moving it to check for any swelling, sensitivity or deformity.
  • Chest: Check if the chest rises easily and evenly on each side as they breathe. Feel the rib cage to check for any deformity or sensitivity. Note if breathing is difficult for them or painful in any way.
  • Collarbone, arms, and fingers: Feel all the way along the collar bones to the fingers for any swelling, sensitivity or deformity. Check they can move their elbows, wrists, and fingers.
  • Arms and fingers: Check they don’t have any unusual feeling in their arms or fingers. If their fingertips are pale or greyish-blue this could suggest their blood isn’t circulating properly. Also look for any needle marks on the forearms, which suggest drug use. See if they have a medical warning bracelet.
  • Spine: If they’ve lost any movement or sensation in their legs or arms. Don’t move them to check their spine as they may have a spinal injury. Otherwise, gently put your hand under their back and check for any swelling or soreness
  • Abdomen: Gently feel their abdomen to check for any signs of internal bleeding, like stiffness or soreness, on each side.
  • Hips and pelvis: Feel both hips and the pelvis for signs of a fracture. Check their clothing for any signs of incontinence, which may suggest a spinal injury or bladder injury, or bleeding from body openings, which may suggest a pelvic fracture.
  • Legs: Check the legs for any bleeding, swelling, deformity or soreness. Ask them to raise one leg and then the other, and to move their ankles and knees.
  • Toes: Check their movement and feeling in their toes. Compare both feet and note the color of the skin: grayish-blue skin could suggest a problem with their circulation or an injury due to cold, like hypothermia.

Call Kenya Redcross through 0700395395/1199, St John Ambulance through 0202210000, 0721225285 or police line 999 or 112 if someone needs immediate medical help. For example, if you think they: have had a heart attack, have a spinal injury or if they’re bleeding severely.

When you get through to the emergency services, you’ll need to give:

• Your name
• A description of the condition of the casualty/casualties
• Your telephone number or the best number for them to contact you on
• The exact location of the incident
• A description of the type of incident and how serious it is
• Details of any hazards, such as gas, damage to power-lines or bad weather conditions.

When attending to any incident or casualty, always remember that your safety always comes first and so you have to assess the situation and use examination gloves when attending to the casualty. I recommend you contact a Training provider for a detailed course and you will be the difference between a life saved and lives lost. In my book, I have written a lot of case studies of people who used their first aid skills to save lives and I know this will help you impact a life. Let us learn first aid for it could be the difference between a life saved and lives lost.
Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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