First Aid Examples: A Guide to Basic First Aid Procedures

First aid refers to the emergency or immediate care provided to someone who is injured or becomes suddenly ill. Knowing some basic first aid procedures can help you assist someone in need before professional medical help arrives. Here are some common examples of first aid scenarios and how to respond.


Providing prompt first aid care can help reduce injury severity and even save lives in emergency situations. While formal first aid training is recommended, there are some basic skills that everyone should know. This article will walk through typical first aid scenarios with clear action steps on how to help.

Having the confidence and knowledge to administer initial care during an emergency can make a big difference. Read on to learn about fundamental first aid techniques for things like cuts, burns, choking, allergic reactions, and more. With some practice, these skills can become second nature when it really counts.

Treating Cuts and Bleeding

Cuts and lacerations are among the most frequent first aid needs. Bleeding needs to be controlled quickly. Here are the steps:

  • Have the injured person sit or lie down to reduce blood flow. Elevate any bleeding limbs.
  • Apply direct pressure on the wound with a clean cloth or bandage. Maintain steady pressure for several minutes.
  • If blood soaks through, leave the bandage in place and add another cloth on top. Continue applying pressure.
  • If bleeding does not stop, apply a tourniquet on the limb above the wound to restrict blood flow.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile dressing and bandage once bleeding stops.
  • Watch for signs of shock like pale skin, rapid breathing, sweating, or weakness. If these occur, have the person lie down with legs elevated. Keep them warm but not overheated.

Severe bleeding may require emergency services, so call 911 or your local emergency number if it cannot be controlled.

Treating Burns

Burns are classified as first, second, or third degree. First degree burns affect the outer skin layers and appear red like a sunburn. Second degree burns go deeper into the dermis causing pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. Third degree burns fully penetrate the skin and are extremely serious, often destroying nerves so they are less painful. Follow these first aid steps for burns:

  • Remove clothing or jewelry from around the burn unless it is stuck to the skin. Run cool water over first and second degree burns for 10-15 minutes to relieve pain and heat.
  • Cover the burn with a sterile gauze or cloth. Do not apply ice, butter, or anything else to the skin.
  • Give over-the-counter pain relievers if pain is severe, but avoid ibuprofen or aspirin which can worsen bleeding.
  • Watch for signs of shock from large burns and elevate legs if present. Call emergency services for third degree burns or burns over large areas of the body.

Choking Protocol

Choking occurs when an object blocks the airway and prevents breathing. It requires fast action to clear the airway:

  • Ask “Are you choking?”. If the person cannot speak, cough, or breathe, follow these steps:
  • For infants, deliver 5 back blows by gently striking their back with the heel of your hand then provide 5 chest thrusts over the breastbone only using two fingers.
  • For children and adults, perform abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver). Stand behind them, wrap arms around their waist, interlock your hands in a fist and place it above their navel. Give 5 quick inward and upward thrusts.
  • Repeat back blows and abdominal thrusts until object is dislodged.
  • Call 911 if still obstructed. Follow emergency dispatcher instructions.

Anaphylaxis Response

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can lead to breathing difficulty, shock, and loss of consciousness. Symptoms often occur rapidly after exposure to an allergen. Here is how to provide first aid:

  • Recognize signs of anaphylaxis – skin reactions like hives or swelling, wheezing, vomiting, low blood pressure, or lightheadedness.
  • Call 911 immediately if an EpiPen or other epinephrine auto-injector is available, administer it as directed. Administer a second dose after 5-10 minutes if symptoms persist.
  • Have the person lie on their back with legs elevated to promote blood flow
  • Remove contact lenses and loosen any tight clothing
  • Do not make them stand or walk
  • Monitor breathing and perform rescue breaths/CPR if needed until help arrives

Fracture Care

Fractures occur when bones are cracked or broken, often from traumatic injury. Signs include pain and swelling, bruising, deformity, or inability to move the area. Follow these first aid steps for fractures:

  • Have the person avoid moving the injured area. Do not try to realign any deformities.
  • If a leg or arm is affected, gently splint it in the position found using a board, rolled blanket or paper to keep it immobilized.
  • Apply ice packs wrapped in cloth to limit swelling and pain.
  • Treat any wounds near fractures by applying pressure to stop bleeding and covering with sterile dressings.
  • Watch for signs of shock and keep the person warm but not overheated.
  • Call 911 so EMS can safely transport to the hospital for x-rays and treatment.


Knowing basic first aid examples can provide critical stabilization and care in the minutes before emergency medical services arrive. Keep these common first aid scenarios and appropriate responses in mind so you are prepared to take life-saving action if someone is injured or experiences a medical crisis unexpectedly. With the right knowledge, you can provide the best care and may help save lives. Consider taking a first aid course and getting CPR certified so these skills become second nature when they are truly needed.

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