First Aid for Public Safety Personnel study guide

More advanced classes require that you know and be able to properly use more advanced vocabulary.

If you have at first taken a lower level class and then move to higher level you can’t be complacent and think that you already know everything. A member of the public can call any wound a cut, but a person training in Emergency Response, Title 22 or lifeguard training should know the difference between an avulsion, laceration, puncture or abrasion.

As a lifeguard you might have referred to burns as first, second, and third degree, but in a higher level class such as First Aid for Public Safety Personnel (Title 22) or Emergency Response you need to know the difference between superficial, partial thickness and full thickness.

Blood from a wound can come from capillaries, arteries or veins. Do you know the kind of bleeding from each?

Will you care for, (or not care for) this wound with a bandage, pressure bandage, tourniquet, dressing, universal dressing, occlusive dressing?

What is a normal heart rate, what is compensating, and what is the rate of compressions for various kinds of CPR?

Are you familiar with specific vocabulary such as tissues, muscle, tendon, nerve, ligament, palpate, hypoxia, anaphylaxis, stimulant, depressant, hallucinogen, narcotic, synergistic, diastolic, systolic, placenta, amniotic, cervix, crowning, prolapsed cord, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, endocrine, esophagus, femur, patella, cranial, clavicle, larynix, epiglottis, stoma, auscultation, defibrillation, fibrillation, distal, proximal, embolism, transient ischemic, BSI, DOTS, AVPU, SAMPLE, DNR, LOC, START, SIDS, rule of nines?

Re-reading the glossary at the end of the text can really improve your chances of passing a test.

This page has the main points of overhead projections for my use while teaching the American Red Cross First Aid for Public Safety Personnel (Title 22) class, and for my students to review.


First Responder Characteristics

    Maintains caring and professional attitude

    Controls fears

    Presents professional appearance

    Maintains skills and knowledge

    Stays healthy

    Recognizes and keeps victim’s needs as priority

Primary Responsibilities of First Responders

    Ensure safety of self and others

    Gain access to victims

    Identify life-threatening conditions

    Summon more advanced medical personnel when necessary

    Provide care

    Assist more advanced medical personnel

Secondary Responsibilities of First Responders

    Summon additional help

    Control and direct bystanders

    Keep records

    Reassure others at scene

Medical Oversight

    Includes medical director

    Direct medial control

    Indirect medical controls


    Standing orders

Warning Signs of Stress


    Inability to concentrate

    Difficulty sleeping/nightmares



    Loss of interest in work

Critical Incident Stress

    Strong emotional reaction that interferes with ability to function

    Can build-up over days, weeks, months, or years

    May require counseling

At the Scene, Evaluate-




    Number of victims

    Behavior of victims/bystanders

    Need for additional assistance

Ensure Your Safety By-

    Evaluating potential dangers

    Wearing proper gear

    Doing what you are trained to do

    Summoning additional resources

Possible Dangers at an Emergency Scene






    Hazardous material

    Unstable structures/vehicles

    Natural disasters

    Multiple victims

    Hostile situations

and see: checking the scene for safety

Conditions Necessary for Disease Transmission

    Pathogen present

    Sufficient quantity of pathogen to cause disease

    Person vulnerable to the disease

    Transmission at correct entry site

How Pathogens Enter the Body

    Direct Contact

    Indirect Contact



more details at: Bloodborne Pathogens quick facts

Exposure Control Plan

    Exposure determination

    Schedules and methods for implementing OSHA standard

    Procedures for evaluating exposures


Standard Precautions (BSI) to Prevent Disease Transmission

    Protective equipment

    Personal hygiene practice

    Engineering controls

    Work practice controls

Legal Considerations

    Scope of practice

    Standard of care

    Duty to act



    Advance directives/DNR orders

    Refusal of care




    Good Samaritan Laws


    Preserving evidence

Obtain Consent Before Providing Care

    Identify yourself

    State level of training

    Explain what you observe

    Explain what you plan to do

Four Components of Negligence


    Breach of Duty



Major Body Systems






Basic Guidelines for Moving a Victim

    Only move a victim you can safely handle

    Bend at knees and hips

    Lift with you legs, not your back

    Take short steps

    Move forward when possible

    Look where you are walking

    Protect victim’s head, neck, and back


    Emergency Moves

    Fire fighter’s carry

    Clothes drag

    Blanket drag

    Shoulder drag

    Pack-strap carry

    Non-urgent moves

    Direct lift

    Extremity lift

    Direct carry

    Draw sheet method

Assessment-Scene Size-Up

    Scene safety

    Mechanism of injury/nature of illness

    Number of victims

    Resources needed

Assessment-Initial Assessment

    Form a general impression

    Assess level of consciousness

    Assess airway

    Assess breathing

    Assess circulation (pulse, severe bleeding, and skin characteristics)

Assessment-Physical Exam

    Gather information about problem

    Identify signs and symptoms

    Check victim from head to toe

    Look and palpate (feel) for signs of injury- (DOTS)


    Open injuries



Levels of Consciousness-AVPU

    Alert – is able to respond to you

    Verbal – only responds to verbal commands

    Painful – Only responds to painful simulus

    Unresponsive – does not respond

Assessment-SAMPLE History

    Signs and symptoms



    Pertinent past history

    Last oral intake

    Events leading to injury or illness

Measuring Blood Pressure

Systolic: Reflects pressure in arteries when heart is working/contracting

Diastolic: Reflects pressure in arteries when heart is resting/refilling


    Narrows air passages

    Triggered by-

    Allergic reaction to pollen/food/a drug/insect stings

    Emotional stress/physical activity

    Signs and Symptoms

    Struggling to breathe

    Wheezing when exhaling


    Lungs lose ability to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen efficiently

    Caused by-

    Smoking; usually develops over many years

    Signs and symptoms

    Shortness of breath

    Possible coughing, cyanosis, or high fever

    Advanced cases: Restlessness, confusion, weakness


    Rapid breathing upsets body’s balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide

    Triggered by-


    Injury to head/severe bleeding/illness



    Signs and symptoms

    Shallow, rapid breathing


Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction)

    Swelling of air passages restricts breathing

    Triggered by-

    Food/insect stings/a drug

    Signs and Symptoms

    Tightness in chest/throat

    Swelling of face/neck/tongue

Care for Respiratory Distress

    Have victim rest in comfortable position

    Keep victim from getting chilled or overheated

    Reduce heat; add moisture

    If authorized, help victim take any medications

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

    Monitor vital signs

Key Points of Respiratory Arrest

    Life threatening

    Commonly caused by illness, injury, or choking

    Often preceded by respiratory distress

    Body systems will progressively fail

Give Rescue Breaths

    Adults-1 every 5 seconds

    Children-1 every 3 seconds

    Infants-1 every 3 seconds

Airway Obstruction

    Anatomical – Airway blocked by anatomic structure


    Swollen tissues of mouth and throat

    Mechanical – Airway blocked by foreign object




Airway Obstruction


Victim can still move air to and from lungs; can cough, speak, breathe


Victim is unable to speak, breathe, cough; no air movement

The Heart

    Right atrium – receives blood from body

    Left atrium – receives blood from lungs

    Right ventricle – pumps blood to lungs

    Left ventricle – pumps blood to body

Major Functions of Blood

    Protects against disease

    Maintains constant body temperature

    Transports oxygen, nutrients, and wastes

Care for External Bleeding

    Direct pressure

    Pressure bandage

    If necessary-

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

Care for Internal Bleeding

    If minor injury-

    Apply ice or cold pack

    If serious injury-

    Do no further harm

    Monitor ABCs and vital signs

    Have victim rest in a comfortable position

    Keep victim from getting chilled or over-heated

    Reassure victim

    Provide care for other conditions

Signs and Symptoms of Shock


    Rapid/weak pulse

    Rapid breathing

    Pale, ashen, or bluish/cool/moist skin

    Excessive thirst

    Nausea and vomiting

    Drowsiness/loss of consciousness

Body Compensates for Blood Loss

    The heart beats faster

    Pulse feels weak

    Breathing rate increases

    Superficial blood vessels contract

    Body sweats

    LOC deteriorates

    Body dies




open wound types:

    Abrasion (scrape – most common type of open wound)

    Laceration (cut)

    Avulsion (portion of the skin torn away)


Types of Burns

    Superficial (first-degree)

    Partial-thickness (second-degree)

    Full-thickness (third-degree)

Critical Burns

    Burns causing breathing difficulty

    Burns covering more than one body part

    Burns on the head, neck, hands, feet, or genitals

    Any partial- or full-thickness burns to children or the elderly

    Burns from chemicals, explosions, or electricity

Care for thermal (heat) Burns

    Stop the burning by removing the person from the source of heat

    Cool burned area with cool water

    Cover burned area with a sterile dressing

    Take steps to minimise shock

    Keep the victim from getting chilled or overheated

Applying a Roller Bandage

    Secure end of bandage

    Completely cover dressings

    Don’t cover fingers or toes

    Apply additional dressings if necessary

Signs and Symptoms of Chest Injury

    Difficulty breathing

    Severe pain

    Obvious deformity

    Discoloration of skin

    Coughing up blood

Care for Serious Chest Injury

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

    Position victim to aid breathing

    If ribs are broken, bind arm to injured side

    Cover sucking chest wound

    Administer oxygen

    Monitor breathing and pulse

Care for Serious Abdominal Injury

    Open Wound

    Do not put pressure on protruding organs or try to put them back inside

    Position victim on back

    Remove clothing around wound

    Cover loosely with moist, clean dressing

    Cover dressing with plastic wrap

    Cover with folded towel to maintain warmth

    Administer oxygen

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

    Closed Wound

    Position victim on back

    Bend knees slightly

    Administer oxygen if available

    Minimize shock

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

Care for Serious Pelvic Injury

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

    Minimize movement

    Control bleeding

    Administer oxygen, if available

    Minimize shock

Care for Open Wound to Genitalia

    Cover with sterile dressing

    Control bleeding

Common Signs and Symptoms of Musculoskeletal Injuries


    Bruising and swelling

    Significant deformity


    Bone protruding from wound

    Inability to use affected part normally

    Grating bones

    Heard a napping or popping sound

    Cause of injury, such as fall from height suggests that the injury may be severe

Care for Muscle and Bone Injuries

    Rest to allow clots to form


    Cold: apply a plastic bag of ice (with a thin barrier between the ice and skin)

    Elevate above heart level unless it causes more pain

Emergency Care for Muscle and Bone Injuries

    Take BSI precautions

    Control life-threatening injuries

    Allow victim to rest in comfortable position

    Apply cold to reduce pain and swelling

    Support area above and below injury

    Cover open wounds with sterile dressing

    Do not re-position protruding bones

When To Suspect a Head, Neck, or Back Injury

    Any fall greater than victim’s height

    Any motor vehicle collision

    A person found unconscious for unknown reasons

    Any injury that penetrates the head or trunk

    A motor vehicle crash involving a driver or passengers not wearing safety belts

    Any person thrown from a motor vehicle

    Any injury in which a victim’s helmet is broken

Times to suspect a spinal injury (symptoms, causes, signs of spinal injury) has a much longer list

Signs and Symptoms of Serious Head, Neck, and Back Injuries

    Change in level of consciousness

    Severe pain/pressure in head/neck/back

    Tingling/loss of sensation/movement in extremities

    Unusual lumps/depressions on head/spine

    Blood/fluids in the ears/nose

    Profuse external bleeding of head/neck/back


    Impaired breathing/vision


    Persistent headache

    Loss of balance

When Not To Use In-line Stabilization

    When victim’s head is severely angled

    When victim complains of pain, pressure, or muscle spasms on initial head movement

    When rescuer feels resistance when attempting to move head

Ways To Prevent Head, Neck, and Back Injuries

    Wear safety belts

    Wear helmets and protective eyewear

    Safeguard against falls

    Take safety precautions in sports and recreation

    Avoid improper drug use

    Inspect equipment

    Think and talk safety

General Signs and Symptoms of Medical Emergencies

    Change in level of consciousness



    Change in breathing/pulse/skin temperature, color, moisture

Altered Mental Status Can Result From



    Poisoning, including substance abuse or misuse

    High or low blood sugar or insulin reactions

    Head injury

    Any condition that results in decreased blood flow to the brain

    Conditions resulting from mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders

Care for a Victim of an Altered Level of Consciousness

    Do an initial assessment, physical exam, and SAMPLE history as needed

    Elevate legs

    Do ongoing assessment

    Check airway; put unconscious victims in recovery position

    Loosen any restrictive clothing

    Do not give victim anything to eat

    Have suction equipment available

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

    Reassure victim

Causes of Seizures



    Chronic medical conditions


    Low blood sugar

    Head injury

    Any condition causing decreased level of consciousness

    Pregnancy complications

To Care for a Seizure Victim

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

    Do not try to stop seizure or restrain victim

    Protect victim from injury

    Protect victim’s modesty

    Manage airway by rolling victim onto his or her side

    Remove nearby objects and protect victim’s head

    Do not place anything between teeth

    When seizure is over, do physical exam and care for any injuries found


    Adequate insulin

    Too little sugar

    Sugar is used rapidly

    Also called insulin reaction

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Emergencies

    Change in level of consciousness

    Rapid breathing and pulse

    Feeling and looking ill

Those at Greatest Risk for Heat-related Illness

    Young children and the elderly

    Those involved in strenuous activity in a hot environment

    Those with preexisting health problems

    Those using illicit drugs or medications

    Those who have had a heat-related illness in the past

Heat Illnesses includes warnings about dehydration.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat-related Illness


    Cool, moist, pale, or ashen skin (earlier stages)

    Dry, red, hot skin (later stages)



    Progressive loss of consciousness

    Rapid, weak pulse (later stages)

    Rapid, shallow breathing (later stages)

    High body temperature (later stages)

Care for Heat Exposure

    Remove victim from hot environment

    Give small amounts of cool water to conscious victim

    Have victim lie down in a cool or shady area and elevate legs if possible

    Loosen or remove clothing

    Apply cool, wet towels or cold packs to wrists, armpits, groin, and legs

    Fan victim

Factors Affecting Normal Body Temperature

    Air temperature




    Intensity of activity

    Body’s ability to adapt (physical fitness level)

Those at Greatest Risk for Cold Exposure

    Young children and elderly

    Those without adequate equipment, clothing, or training for cold environment

    Those with health problems

    Those using illicit drugs, medications, or alcohol

see more at: Cold illness and injuries (hypothermia, frostbite and prevention)

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia

    Cool skin



    Decreasing level of consciousness

    Poor coordination

    Difficulty speaking

    Rigid posture

Care for Hypothermia

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

    Reassure victim

    Handle victim gently

    Remove victim from cold environment

    Have victim stop all activity and rest

    Remove wet clothing

    Place victim in dry blankets or clothing and wrap in plastic if available

    Protect from any further heat loss


    Superficial frostbite

    Most common form of frostbite

    Skin is frozen, underlying tissues are not

    Involves loss of feeling and sensation

    Person feels tingling sensation when rewarmed

    Deep frostbite

    Skin is white and waxy

    Skin is firm when palpated

    Swelling and blisters may be present

    When rewarmed, skin appears red with areas of purple and blue

To Prevent Overexposure Emergencies

    Do not work in the hottest or coldest part of day

    Take frequent breaks

    Replenish body with food and fluids

    Reduce work intensity

    Wear clothing appropriate for task and environment

Actions Indicating a Behavioral Emergency

    Threatening posture

    Possessing a weapon(s)

    Threatening harm to others or self

    Being verbally abusive

    Speaking in a nonsensical manner

    Withdrawing deeply


To Calm a Victim of a Behavioral Emergency

    Assume non-threatening posture

    Acknowledge that victim appears upset

    Get in front of victim and at eye level

    Avoid unnecessary contact

    Do not threaten, challenge, or argue with victim

    Involve others that victim trusts

    Encourage victim to discuss whatever is troubling him/her

How Poisons Enter the Body





Clues of Poisoning


    Flames or smoke

    Containers that are open or out of place

    Plants partially eaten or disturbed

Poisoning Severity

    The type and amount of poison

    How and when it entered the body

    Victim’s size, weight, and age

General Principles for Poisoning Emergencies

    Conduct scene size-up

    Remove victim from source of poison

    Conduct initial assessment

    Conduct physical exam and SAMPLE history

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

    Contact Poison Control Center (PCC) as per local protocols

    Do not give anything to eat or drink

When Not to Induce Vomiting for Ingested Poisons

    Victim is unconscious

    Victim is having a seizure

    Victim is pregnant

    Victim has ingested corrosive substance or petroleum product

    Victim is known to have heart disease

Guidelines for Initial Snakebite Care

    Take victim to medical care immediately

    Wash wound if possible

    Immobilize affected part

    Minimize victim’s movement

    Keep affected part lower than heart

    Summon more advanced medical personnel

Human Bites

    May be highly contaminated with bacteria

    Require professional medical care immediately

    Need to be washed with soap and water

    Can bleed if severe; control severe bleeding


    Relieve anxiety

    Alter consciousness

    Promote sleep

    Depress respiration

    Relieve pain

    Relax muscles

    Impair coordination and judgment

Care for Substance Misuse and Abuse

    Your initial care does not require you know the substance

    Care as you would for poisoning

Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis







    Trouble breathing

Care for Anaphylaxis

    Summon more advanced medical personnel immediately

    Position victim in the most comfortable position that aids breathing

    Administer supplemental oxygen

    Have victim use anaphylaxis kit if one is available

Anaphylaxis quick FAQs

The Labor Process

    Stage One – Preparation Woman’s body prepares for childbirth

    Time period: From first contraction until uterus is fully dilated

    Stage Two – Delivery of the Baby

    Crowning occurs

    Delivery of the baby

    Stage Three – Delivery of the Placenta

    Occurs within 30 minutes after birth

    Placenta separates from uterine wall and exits through vagina

    Stage Four – Stabilization

    Recovery and stabilization of mother

    Lasts approximately 1 hour

    Uterus contracts to control bleeding

Assessing Labor

    First pregnancy?

    Amniotic sac ruptured?


    Are they close together?

    Are they strong?

    Bloody discharge?

    Urge to bear down?


see also:

What the AED says as you use it

CPR quick facts

AED quick facts

How to pass a Red Cross written test

Why did they change CPR?

Bloodborne Pathogens quick facts

fast, basic neurological exam

Oxygen administration quick facts

cultural issues in first aid

wilderness first aid outline

injuries quick facts

first aid Secondary Assessment

Times to suspect a spinal injury (symptoms, causes, signs of spinal injury)

causes of fainting, altered mental status, sudden altered mental status, unconsciousness

Seizures, causes of and basic care for

Concussion signs and symptoms, prevention

(Note to on-line users not in my classes: this is a study sheet. It is not complete instruction in first aid or any topic named in the webpage title, or in the main points of overhead projections at this page.)