What is First Aid?

First aid – the care given before emergency medical help arrives – can literally mean the difference between life and death. But knowing the correct thing to do if someone has a nosebleed or cut is also important.
First aid is based on knowledge, training and expertise. A first aider will have completed a practical training course under the supervision of a recognised first aid organisation, such as Cambrian First Aid.
If you’re present at the scene of an accident, or during a medical emergency, you need to go through the following stages:

Assess the situation

  • Take control of your feelings, don’t act impulsively
  • Look for continuing danger, to the casualties and to yourself
  • Decide whether to call for emergency help

First aid is the provision of initial care for an illness or injury. It is usually performed by non-expert, but trained personnel to a sick or injured person until definitive medical treatment can be accessed. Certain self-limiting illnesses or minor injuries may not require further medical care past the first aid intervention. It generally consists of a series of simple and in some cases, potentially life-saving techniques that an individual can be trained to perform with minimal equipment.


The key aims of first aid can be summarized in three key points:

  • Preserve life: the overriding aim of all medical care, including first aid, is to save lives
  • Prevent further harm: also sometimes called prevent the condition from worsening, or danger of further injury, 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, such as applying pressure to stop a bleed becoming dangerous.
  • 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.

First aid training also involves the prevention of initial injury and responder safety, and the treatment phases.