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St. John Ambulance - First Aid

About St. John Ambulance

St. John Ambulance is one of the UK's largest and best-known charitable organisations. It exists to provide First Aid and medical support services, caring services in support of community needs and education, and training and personal development to young people.

With well over half of its members under the age of 18, St. John Ambulance is also a major youth organisation. Through participation in a structured programme of First Aid and care activities, young people can develop valuable personal and social skills.
As the country's leading First Aid organisation, it trains over half a million people each year, running a number of First Aid courses for children, the general public and the workforce. St. John Ambulance has over 45,000 volunteers who are committed to training, caring and saving lives.
St. John Ambulance has a network of over 200 conveniently located training centres across the country. First Aid courses range from a basic 4-hour First Aid course especially designed for parents, to the statutory 4-day First Aid at Work course.

To help locate the most convenient centre for you, please call our Locallink number on 08700 10 49 50 and you will be

connected directly to your local St. John Ambulance. The Locallink number can be used for any enquiries, whether to book a training course, to find out about volunteering opportunities, to book First Aiders for an event or to ask about the local St. John Ambulance care and transport services.

Alternatively, visit the website at and book a First Aid course online.

If you are faced with an emergency, what would you do!

Most accidental injuries are minor and can be treated using simple first aid measures. In the unlikely event of a serious accident or sudden illness, knowledge by you of first aid techniques could help you to save a person's life.

If you are faced with an emergency, you should:
  • Keep calm, reassure the casualty
  • Assess the situation
  • Is danger still present?
  • Make the situation safe
  • Make sure there is no further danger to the casualty, you or any bystanders
  • Quickly assess the casualty or casualties
  • Act on your findings
  • Give emergency aid
If there is more than one casualty, treat in the following order:
  • Unconscious - carry out the Resuscitation Sequence (DRABC)
  • Serious bleeding
  • Fractures
  • Other injuries
  • Do not move a casualty unless he/she is in immediate danger
  • Do not give a casualty anything to eat or drink, or allow them to smoke
  • Get help
Use bystanders to call for help - get them to dial 999 and give the following information:
  • Full address or location of the accident, as clearly and precisely as possible
  • Describe what has happened
  • Describe the injuries found
The Resuscitation Sequence:
Are you or the casualty in any danger? If you have not already done so, make the situation safe and then assess the casualty.

If the casualty appears unconscious check this by shouting 'Can you hear me?', 'Open your eyes' and gently shaking their shoulders.
If there is no response, shout for help then follow the ABC Procedure below:
  • Airway
  • Open the airway by placing one hand on the casualty's forehead and gently tilting the head back.
  • Check the mouth for obstructions and then lift the chin using 2 fingers only.
Spend 10 seconds checking to see if the casualty is breathing:
  • Look to see if the chest is rising and falling. Listen for breathing.
  • Feel for breath against your cheek.
  • If the casualty is breathing, place them in the recovery position.
  • Check for other life- threatening conditions.
If the casualty is not breathing, and the condition is due to injury, drowning, or choking, continue with sequence. For any other casualty who is not breathing, call an ambulance, then return to casualty and begin sequence again.
  • Give 2 Rescue Breaths.
  • Circulation
  • Spend 10 seconds checking for signs of circulation: look, listen and feel for breathing, coughing, movement or any other signs of life.
If the casualty is:
Conscious and breathing
  • Check circulation (including a check for severe bleeding).
  • Treat any injuries.
  • Get help if necessary.

Unconscious but breathing
  • Place the casualty in the recovery position.
  • Check circulation (including a check for severe bleeding).
  • Treat any life-threatening conditions.
  • Call for an ambulance.
Unconscious and not breathing
If circulation is present, and the condition is due to injury, drowning or choking:
  • Give 10 Rescue Breaths.
  • Call an ambulance, return to casualty and follow resuscitation sequence again, acting on your findings.
If circulation is present, and the condition is not due to injury, drowning or choking:
  • Call for an ambulance, then continue to give RescueBreaths until help arrives.
  • Check for circulation after every 10 breaths.
If circulation is absent, and the condition is due to injury, drowning or choking:
  • Give chest compressions together with Rescue Breaths (CPR) for 1 minute.
  • Call an ambulance, then return to casualty and follow resuscitation sequence again, acting on your findings.

If circulation is absent, and the condition is not due to injury, drowning or choking:
  • Call for an ambulance, then continue to give chest compressions together with Rescue Breaths (CPR) until help arrives.
Rescue Breaths
  • Ensure the airway is open.
  • Pinch nose firmly closed.
  • Take a deep breath and seal your lips around the casualty's mouth.
  • Blow into the mouth until the chest rises.
  • Remove your mouth and allow the chest to fall.
  • Repeat.
Check for circulation.
  • If circulation is absent commence CPR.
  • If breathing starts, place in Recovery Position.
  • Check for circulation after every 10 breaths.
  • Chest Compressions together with Rescue Breaths (CPR)
Note: Chest Compressions must always be combined with Rescue Breaths.
  • Place heel of your hand 2 fingers' width above the junction of the casualty's rib margin and breastbone.
  • Place other hand on top and interlock fingers. Keeping your arms straight and your fingers off the chest, press down by 4-5cms; then release the pressure, keeping your hands in place.
  • Repeat the compressions 15 times, aiming at a rate of 100 per minute.
  • Give 2 Rescue Breaths.
  • Continue resuscitation, 15 compressions to 2 Rescue Breaths.
  • Only check for circulation if the casualty's colour improves.
  • If circulation is present, stop the Chest Compressions but continue Rescue Breaths if necessary.
Recovery Position
An unconscious casualty who is breathing but has no other life- threatening conditions should be placed in the Recovery Position.
  • Turn casualty onto their side.
  • Lift chin forward in open airway position and adjust hand under the cheek as necessary.
  • Check casualty cannot roll forwards or backwards.
  • Monitor breathing and pulse continuously.
  • If injuries allow, turn the casualty to the other side after 30 minutes.

NOTE: if you suspect spinal injury, use the jaw thrust technique. Place your hands on either side of their face. With your fingertips gently lift the jaw to open the airway. Take care not to tilt the casualty's neck.Bleeding
Although only two or three children a year actually die from cutting or piercing accidents, around 20,000 need hospital treatment - mostly for glass related injuries.
  • Use safety glass in doors and windows or cover glass with safety film or board.
  • Put stickers or brightly-coloured tape on low level glass sections to make children aware of the glass, or put an obstacle in front of the glass to keep children at a distance.
  • Do not leave scissors, kitchen tools, garden equipment and the like lying around. Never let any small child wander around with sharp implements or glassware in their hands.
Minor cuts, scratches and grazes
  • Wash and dry your own hands.
  • Cover any cuts on your own hands and put on disposable gloves.
  • Clean the cut, if dirty, under running water. Pat dry with a sterile dressing or clean lint free material. If possible, raise affected area above the heart.
  • Cover the cut temporarily while you clean the surrounding skin with soap and water and pat the surrounding skin dry. Cover the cut completely with a sterile dressing or plaster.
Severe bleeding
  • Put on disposable gloves.

Apply direct pressure to the wound with a pad (e.g. a clean cloth) or fingers until a sterile dressing is available.
  • Raise and support the injured limb. Take particular care if you suspect a bone has been broken.
  • Lay the casualty down to treat for shock.
  • Bandage the pad or dressing firmly to control bleeding, but not so tightly that it stops the circulation to fingers or toes. If bleeding seeps through first bandage, cover with a second bandage. If bleeding continues to seep through bandage, remove it and reapply.
  • Treat for shock.
  • Dial 999 for an ambulance.
Burns and scalds
Around 50,000 children a year are treated in hospital for burns and scalds and 100 children a year will die this way. It is the second most common cause of accidental death after road accidents.
  • Fit smoke alarms in your home.
  • Be safety conscious by using coiled kettle flexes or cordless kettles, etc. to avoid hanging flexes.
  • Turn pan handles away from the front of the cooker.
  • Keep matches, cigarettes, inflammable substances, chemicals and powerful cleaning materials out of reach.
  • Beware of bonfires and barbecues as well as any indoor fires - use fire guards.
  • Keep domestic water temperatures under 55c.
  • Treat burns and scalds in exactly the same way.
Severe Burns
  • Start cooling the burn immediately under running water for at least 10 minutes
  • Dial 999 for an ambulance.
  • Make the casualty as comfortable as possible, lie them down.
  • Continue to pour copious amounts of cold water over the burn for at least ten minutes or until the pain is relieved.
  • Whilst wearing disposable gloves, remove jewellery, watch or clothing from the affected area - unless it is sticking to the skin.
  • Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material to protect from infection. Cloth, a clean plastic bag or kitchen film all make good dressings.
  • Treat for shock.
Minor Burns
  • For minor burns, hold the affected area under cold water for at least 10 minutes or until the pain subsides.
  • Remove jewellery etc. and cover the burn as detailed above.
  • If a minor burn is larger than a postage stamp it requires medical attention. All deep burns of any size require urgent hospital treatment.
Clothing on fire
  • Stop the casualty panicking or running - any movement or breeze will fan the flames.
  • Drop the casualty to the ground.
  • If possible, wrap the casualty tightly in a coat, curtain or blanket (not the nylon or cellular type), rug or other heavy-duty fabric. The best fabric is wool.
  • Roll the casualty along the ground until the flames have been smothered.
On ALL burns DO NOT
Use lotions, ointments and creams
Use adhesive dressings
Break blisters

Difficulty in speaking and breathing. There may also be:
  • Congested face initially.
  • Grey-blue skin (cyanosis) later.
  • Distressed signs from the casualty, who may point to the throat, or grasp the neck
  • Ask the casualty to cough, but if the casualty becomes weak or stops coughing go to step 2.
  • Bend the casualty well forwards and give up to 5 sharp slaps between the shoulder blades with the flat of your hand.
  • If back slaps fail, check the mouth, then try up to 5 abdominal thrusts.
  • Put your arms around the casualty's trunk. Link your hands below their ribcage and pull sharply inwards and upwards.
  • If the obstruction does not clear after 3 cycles of back slaps and abdominal thrusts dial 999 for an ambulance.
  • Repeat steps 1-4 until obstruction clears.

If the casualty becomes unconscious, check breathing and give Rescue Breaths. If you cannot achieve effective Rescue Breaths, give Chest Compressions immediately to try to relieve the obstruction.
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