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First Aid FAQ

First Aid – Frequently Asked Questions

Recovery Position

When should you put someone in to the recovery position?

When they are unconscious and breathing normally.

How do you know if someone is unconscious?

They are not responding to any verbal or painful stimuli which you have given them. You would know this by doing the A.V.P.U scale (Alert, verbal, pain, unresponsive)


When should you give C.P.R?

When someone is unconscious and they are not breathing normally.

When should you stop C.P.R?

When the ambulance arrives and the paramedics are ready to take over, if you are physically exhausted and you can no longer continue, if your casualty shows signs of recovery, or if the situation changes and you are now in immediate danger.

At what point should you ring 999 or 112 if you need to give C.P.R?

As soon as you realise the casualty is unconscious and not breathing normally (before you start the chest compressions)

What if you break a rib?

The most common area to become fractured during C.P.R is actually the sternum. If you think you may have fractured the casualty’s ribs/sternum just stop, make sure your hands are in the centre of the chest and carry on as it’s more important there is oxygenated blood circulating than the ribs/sternum are intact.

What happens if you blow too much air in to the casualty when you are giving rescue breaths?

The casualty may vomit as air may become forced in to the stomach. In which case you need to turn them on to their side towards you so the vomit can drain out and you can see the airways. Then put them back on the back and re check airways and breathing.

What if you can’t give mouth to mouth or mouth to nose?

If you are unable or unwilling to give rescue breaths, you can give chest compression only C.P.R. Chest compression only C.P.R is effective for a limited period only and is not recommended as standard management for C.P.R.


What should you do for a nose bleed?

Sit the casualty down, head slightly dipped forward and ask them to pinch below the bridge of the nose for 10 minutes. Give them a bowl to dribble in to. If still bleeding after 10 minutes ask them to pinch for another 10 minutes. Slowly release. If they have had a nose bleed longer than half an hour, ring 999 or 112.


Plasters are fine to be kept in the first aid kit. Just make sure your casualty isn’t allergic to them before administering. For areas where plasters cannot be used due to local policies, there needs to be some kind of alternative dressing provided.

What should you do if someone is having a major seizure?

Make the area around them safe so they are less likely to injure themselves. Do not restrain them or put anything in their mouth. If you are able to, try to protect the head. Time the seizure to see how long it lasts for. Cover the casualty with a blanket/jacket to preserve their modesty as sometimes they may become incontinent. Dial 999 or 112 if are concerns over the casualties airways/ breathing, if they injure themselves, if it is their first seizure or if you are concerned, or if the seizure lasts longer than 4-5 mins (sometimes you may wish to dial 999 or 112 before this)


What is the difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns?

We now call burns superficial, partial thickness and full thickness.

A superficial (1st degree) burn is where the top surface layer of the skin has been burnt.

A partial thickness (2nd degree) burn is where the burn penetrates the second layer of the skin and may sometimes create blisters.

A full thickness burn (third degree) is the most serious and is where all the layers of the skin are burnt. The skin may look waxy or charred.


Workplace First Aid Manual Link

Irish Red Cross First Aid Manual

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