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Assessing an emergency scene is the first step to giving someone help in a crisis. This will help you in performing the right sequence of aid while avoiding possible hazards that might come from taking the wrong steps. For instance, if approaching a car accident on a busy highway, you would need to assess the safety of the scene in getting to the victims. If a person has been exposed to electrocution, walking up and grabbing them yourself will do little good.

  1. Make sure it is safe before you give assistance. Look all around the emergency scene to try and determine the cause of the injury, and look for signs that there could still be danger present. You can’t offer aid if you become another victim yourself. Some of the more common hazards are downed power lines, traffic, or dangerous animals or humans who may still be nearby.
  1. Always call your 911 emergency number. In most cases this is the first thing to do. If possible, have someone else call while you wait by the victim. Instruct a specific person to call, pointing and saying “you call 911,” so there are no mistakes about who was supposed to do it.

The ABC’s of administering first aid

When coming upon an injured victim, emergency responders use a simple progression to check on the status of the person, known as the ABC’s of first aid. The ABC’s of first aid simply stand for airway, breathing, and circulation.


Clear the victim’s airway by lifting the head back and tilting the chin, so the victim’s face is facing slightly up and backwards.


Check the victims breathing by looking, listening, and feeling for chest movement.


Check for signs of circulation or pulse. If the victim is breathing, coughing, or showing signs of movement, they have a pulse. They could not do these things without one.

Other basics of first aid:

* If a person is breathing, do not try to move them if you have any reason to suspect a spinal injury.

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