What can a first aider do to help during the coronavirus pandemic?
If you have been trained in first aid you may be wondering how you can put your skills to use to support people in the community and whilst at work. The simple answer is to carry on using the lifesaving skills you have been taught.
As you can imagine, during this difficult time there are less and less people who are comfortable to step forward and help others, mostly as they are concerned about physical contact. Hopefully, we can offer some reassurance and helpful tips on how to make it as safe as possible.
Explain how they can help themselves
Most first aid is very simple and the steps to take in an emergency can be described or explained to an injured or ill person so they can help themselves. For example, if they are bleeding heavily, you can ask them to apply pressure to the wound with whatever they have available while you call 999.
If you do need to provide assistance to an individual who you are concerned may have an infection, wherever possible place the person in a location away from others. If there is no physically separate room, ask others who are not involved in providing assistance to stay at least 2 metres away from the individual. If barriers or screens are available, these may be used.
If someone is so badly injured or ill that they are unable to help themselves it is even more important we step in and try to help. For example, not helping someone who is not responsive or not breathing will dramatically reduce their chance of survival but the risks to the first aider are very low especially if good hygiene practices are followed*.