Providing First Aid

First Aid Information:

Please note that the source for these first aid instructions is the American Red Cross. Different signs, symptoms, and their causes may dictate different treatments. When in doubt, always call 911 first; the Fire and Emergency Medical Services call taker is prepared to give you instructions over the phone.

Poison: First Aid at a Glance

Signs & Symptoms: First Aid:
Symptoms vary greatly.Aids in determining whether poison was swallowed:

  • Information from victim or observer
  • Presence of poison container
  • Condition of victim
    (sudden onset of pain or illness)
  • Burns around lips
  • Breath odor
  • Pupil contracted to pinpoint size
All victims, call 911.
Save label or container for ID.
Conscious victims

  • Dilute the poison with milk or water.
  • Do not neutralize with counteragents.
  • Do not give oils.

Unconscious victims

  • Maintain open airway (victim on side).
  • Give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or
    CPR if necessary.
  • Do not give fluids.
  • Do not induce vomiting.


  • Do not restrain victim.
  • Loosen tight clothing.
  • Watch for airway obstruction.
  • Do not give fluids.
  • Do not induce vomiting.

Shock: First Aid at a Glance

Signs & Symptoms: First Aid:
  • Skin pale (or bluish), cold to touch possibly moist or clammy
  • Victim weak
  • Rapid pulse (over 100)
  • Rate of breathing usually increases may be shallow or deep and irregular
All victims, call 911.

  • Keep victim lying down.
  • Cover him only enough to keep him from losing body heat

Fracture and Dislocation: First Aid at a Glance

Signs & Symptoms: First Aid:
  • Pain and tenderness.
  • May have difficulty moving injured part.
  • Obvious deformities—swelling and discoloration.
All victims, call 911.

  • Keep broken bone end and adjacent joints from moving.
  • Give care for shock.

Heart Attack: First Aid at a Glance

Signs & Symptoms: First Aid:
Two principal symptoms:

  • Acute pain in chest, upper abdomen,
    or down left arm
  • Extreme shortness of breath
All victims, call 911.

  • Place victim in a comfortable position, usually sitting up.
  • If not breathing, give rescue breathing.
  • Do not give liquids to unconscious victims.

Unconsciousness: First Aid at a Glance

Signs & Symptoms: First Aid:
  • Unresponsiveness
All victims, call 911.

  • Keep victim warm and lying down, head turned to the side.
  • If breathing stops, give rescue breathing.
  • Never give an unconscious person food or liquids.

Allergic Reactions

An allergic reaction occurs when the body has a response to an agent that is introduced on the skin or into the body. Your body reacts in many different ways. General findings include watery eyes or a runny nose. Hives may spread over large areas of the body. Hives are characterized by itching and burning of the skin and appear as multiple raised, reddened areas. Hives most commonly occur over the face and upper chest. Swelling, especially of the face, neck, hands, feet, and/or tongue may also occur. At first, a person may sneeze or have an itchy, runny nose. Tightness in the chest generally develops next, along with an irritating, persistent cough. The person’s respirations may become rapid or labored. Fainting and coma may follow.

If a person seems to be having an allergic reaction, immediately access 9-1-1. Find out whether the person has any prescribed medication for allergic reactions. People who have a history of severe allergic reactions often have kits that contain prescribed medication to combat allergic reactions.

Cold/Heat-Related Emergencies

Environmental emergencies can occur in any part of the country and at any time of the year. Emergencies involving exposure to heat and cold affect individuals in many different areas. These emergencies can range from very minor to life-threatening conditions.

The greatest number of cold-related emergencies occur in the urban setting, many involving the elderly. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses more heat than it retains or gains or low core body temperature. Your initial basic first aid step is to move the patient from the environment to prevent further heat loss. Do not allow the patient to walk, as this may further damage the feet. Next, remove any wet clothing and cover the patient with a dry blanket. Do not massage the extremities. Do not allow the patient to eat, drink, or use any stimulants, such as coffee, tea, or cola. All patients with hypothermia should be taken to the hospital for evaluation.

When the body gains or retains more heat than it loses, the result is hypothermia or a high core body temperature. The body attempts to rid itself of excess heat most efficiently by sweating. The blood vessels
near the skin also dilate, increasing the rate of release of heat from the body. Your first basic first aid step in caring for a patient who has become overheated is to move the patient from the hot environment. Move them to an air conditioned area if possible. Next, you should loosen or remove layers of clothing to help cool the patient. Have the patient lay down and elevate the legs. Fan the patient. Give the patient water to drink only if they are able to drink it alone. A patient who is unresponsive or vomiting requires more aggressive treatment. 9-1-1 should be accessed immediately for such patients.

GCFD Mission Statement

Serving our community and our neighbors with dedication and compassion.

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