May is the beginning
of the summer break for many, particularly students. Summer break
is the time when more people are exposed to accidents and injuries
because they tend to let 'safety go on vacation' as well. However,
May should also be the time for everyone to learn and maintaining
Basic First Aid and CPR (cardiopulminary resusitation) training,
especially before taking that summer trip, or even hanging around
Maricopa County included, offer their employees first aid and CPR
training. Some community organizations offer this training to the
public for a nominal fee. Regardless how you participate, having
this training may help you save someone's life.
FIRST AID KITS
necessity for every house and car should be a first-aid kit. You
can pruchase one that is already made up, or you can make one on
your own. The kit should be properly stocked and kept in easy reach
to help you handle an emergency at a moment's notice.
you make your own first aid kit, choose containers that are roomy,
durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes,
household-sized tool boxes, or art storage containers are ideal
as they are lightweight, spaceous, and have handles.
first-aid kits should, at a minimum, contain the following items:
adhesive tape and sterile gauze,
bandages in several sizes
wipes, soap, antibiotic cream (triple-antibiotic ointment), antiseptic
solution (like hydrogen peroxide), or alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
and aspirin (aspirin is not recommended for children under age
instant cold packs
and sharp scissors
gloves (at least 2 pairs, also some people are allergic to latex
and extra batteries
for administering CPR (can be obtained from your local Red Cross)
list of emergency phone numbers
(a regular blanket stored nearby, or a "space blanket" which can
be stored in your automobile kit)
prescription medications (if going on vacation)
you have purchased/stocked your first-aid kits, read all of first-aid
manual so you can understand how to use the contents of your kits.
You should also review the various procedures and kit components
with your children if they are old enough to understand. Store your
first-aid kits in places that are out of small children's reach
but easily accessible for adults. Check your kits regularly, and
replace missing or outdated items. You can read more about first
aid kits at Numours
Foundation and Kids Health.org (opens as a seperate window).
To learn more about specific topics requiring first aid, go to the
(also opens as a seperate window) and type "first aid" in the search
text box at the top of the page.
AED - AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS
some emergencies, the victim's breathing stops, their heart stops
pumping, or both. In these life-threatening instances, it is important
to know how to administer CPR, and to use an AED if one needed and
is readily available. In the event of a life-threatening emergency,
life-support techniques should be performed in the following order:
breathing if breathing has stopped (particularly important for
children pulled from the water).
circulation if there is no heartbeat or pulse.
NOTE: BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO ADMINISTER FIRST AID, CPR
AND/OR USE AN AED, IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE
THE APPROPRIATE TRAINING.
Heart Association and the American
Red Cross both provide formal training. Their training programs
allow adequate time to practice on a training mannequin under close
observation and supervision of a certified instructor. These organizations'
local chapters, as well as your local fire department, for a training
schedule. Your employer may also provide this training (County emplyees,
please contact the Safety Office for the First Aid/CPR training
all life support techniques as quickly as possible after an injury.
Brain damage ususally occurs 4 to 6 minutes after cardiopulmonary
arrest and the severity of this damage increases each minute there-after.
American Heart Association uses the term "ABC" to represent the
three major life-support functions restored by CPR:
B - Breathing
C - Circulation
RESUSCITATION IS AS EASY AS "A B C"
is a brief synopsis of how to perfom CPR on an adult (infants and
children are slightly different):
A - AIRWAY
- GET IT OPEN
Place the victim flat on his/her back on a hard surface.
Shake victim at the shoulders and shout "are you okay?"
If there is no response, you or someone nearby calls the emergency
medical system - 911 - to get professional help on its way.
Then head-tilt/chin-lift open victim's airway by tilting their
head back with one hand while lifting up their chin with your
B - BREATHING
- GET IT STARTED
Position your cheek close to victim's nose and mouth, look toward
victim's chest, and "Look, Listen, and Feel" for breathing
If not breathing, pinch victim's nose closed and give 2 full breaths
into victim's mouth (use a microshield or similar barrier to prevent
transmission of infection as well as to keep any vomit from entering
If your rescue breaths won't go in, reposition the head and try
again to give breaths.
If still blocked, perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver).
C - CIRCULATION
- GET THE BLOOD TO THE BRAIN
Check for carotid pulse by feeling for 5-10 seconds at side of
If there is a pulse but victim is not breathing, give rescue breathing
at rate of 1 breath every 5 seconds or 12 breaths per minute.
is no pulse, begin chest compressions as follows:
Place the heel of one hand on lower part of victim's sternum.
With your other hand directly on top of first hand and arms locked
straight, depress sternum 1.5 to 2 inches.
Perform 15 compressions to every 2 breaths. (rate: 80-100 per
Check for return of pulse every minute.
CONTINUE UNINTERRUPTED UNTIL ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE.
AEDs are pre-programmed
devices used to provide treatment/care for cardiac arrest (heart
attack) victims. They are becoming more common as a standard first
aid tool as is the 'first aid kit' in airplanes and public buildings.
AEDs provide an electric charge that interupts the fibrillation,
or rapid uncoordinated contractions of the heart, and allows it
to begin beating regularly again. Becasue these devices are now
becoming more commonplace, please contact the Safety Office or your
local American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or local fire
department for more information regarding AED training.
are some useful terms to know when performing first aid, CPR or
first aid purposes, an individual over 8 years old
AED--automated external defibrillator
BABY/INFANT--for first-aid purposes, a child under one year old
BRADYCARDIA--a slow heartbeat
CHILD--for first-aid purposes, over one year old and up to the age
FRACTURE--a break or crack in a bone
HEAT EXHAUSTION--a condition where the body's core temperature rises
above normal (98 F) and the individual feels sick and dizzy
HEAT STROKE--very serious condition when the victim's body loses
ability to regulate its own temperature and the internal or core
temperature rises to a dangerous level (104 F and above)
HYPOTHERMIA--the body's core temperature becomes too cold (below
95 F - it happens in Arizona!)
HYPOXIA--low level of oxygen being supplied to the body
LACERATION--a rough, ripped wound
MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION (MI)--heart attack
SHOCK--insufficient oxygen getting to where it is needed in the
body, ineffective blood circulation
TACHYCARDIA--the heart is beating too quickly
UNCONSCIOUSNESS--the interruption of the brain's normal activity
such that it is no longer aware of its surroundings