What to Do Until Help Arrives

If someone with you is sick or hurt, follow these basic first aid steps – Check – Call – Care

Check the scene

Make sure it is safe for you to get closer, then check the injured person to see if she/he has any life-threatening conditions (i.e., constant or sudden chest pain, trouble breathing, heavy bleeding, lack of consciousness, or severe injuries from falls, head wounds, or burns).

Call for help

If the injured person has any of the life-threatening conditions listed above, call 911 right away, or have someone else call while you stay with the person.


Do your best to comfort the sick person and prevent further injury until emergency workers arrive. Here are some ways you can help:

Control Bleeding

  • Cover wounds with a pad, bandage, or cloth and press firmly.
  • If there are no broken bones, lift and keep the injured area above the level of the heart.
  • If the bleeding does not stop, put on extra bandages, and squeeze the artery against the bone at a point between the injury and the heart (usually inner legs or inner arms).

Care for Shock

  • Keep the injured person from getting either too cold or too hot.
  • Lift and keep the legs about 12 inches above the floor or ground (if no broken bones).
  • Do not let the injured person eat or drink anything.

Tend Burns

  • Cool the burned area with lots of cool water.
  • Cover the burn with a dry, clean bandage or cloth.

Care for Injuries to Muscles, Bones and Joints

  • Apply ice or a cold pack to control swelling and lessen pain.
  • Avoid movement or activity that causes the injured person any pain.
  • If you must move the victim because the area is unsafe, try to keep the injured part still.

Reduce Any Care Risks 

The risk of getting a disease while giving first aid is rare. However, to lower the risk more:

  • Avoid direct contact with blood and other body fluids.
  • Use latex or rubber gloves if you have them.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water right away after giving first aid.