The life of 1,40,000 people could have been saved, if someone around the diseased had known first aid. According to the reports of St. John Ambulance, the startling figure is four times more the number of people who die because of lung cancer each year. Thousands of people are dying each year in situation where first aid could have sustained the condition of the patient. This includes nearly 900 people who choke to death, 2500 who asphyxiate from a blocked airway and 29,000 who die from heart attacks.
First aid is the assistance given to any person suffering a sudden illness or injury, which aims to preserve life, prevent the patient’s condition from worsening and to promote his/her recovery when medical care is unavailable. Few activities include such as CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), as well as the complete treatment of minor conditions, such as applying an antiseptic or a plaster to a cut. First aid is generally performed by a layperson who have the basic level of first aid knowledge.
The key aims of first aid can be summarized in three key points:
- Preserve life: the main aim of all medical care, including first aid, is to save lives and minimize the threat of death.
- Prevent further harm: preventing the condition from worsening, this covers both external factors, such as moving a patient away from any cause of harm, and applying first aid techniques to prevent worsening of the condition e.g. applying pressure to stop excessive bleeding.
- Promote recovery: first aid also involves trying to start the recovery process from the illness or injury, and in some cases might involve completing a treatment, such as in the case of applying a plaster to a small wound.
To raise awareness on how first aid can save lives, The International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies (IFRC) observed World First Aid Day in 2000, and has been celebrating it each year ever since. The theme for this year is “First aid and ageing population.” The goal of First Aid Day is to spread first aid practices among people, so that they can help a person who suffers a sudden injury or illness. It is not always performed by medical personnel. In emergency situation, ordinary people often have to perform first aid to save someone’s life. Each year, more than 100 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world organise events and ceremonies on the second Saturday of September to raise public awareness on how first aid can save lives in critical situation every day.
Many countries have rules and regulations, which specifies a minimum level of first aid provision in certain circumstances. This can include specific training or equipment to be available in the workplace (such as an automated external defibrillator), the provision of specialist first aid cover at public gatherings, or mandatory first aid training within schools. First aid, however, does not necessarily require any particular equipment or prior knowledge, and can involve improvisation with materials available at the time, often by untrained persons.
Fiinovation believes that first aid should be accessible to all – including the most vulnerable, and should also be an integral part of a wider development approach.
By – Anand Kumar