Have you ever been in a situation where you have to help someone who has had an accident and you do not know what to do? Here are some first aid tips that can help.

Drowning

There are three types of rescues that you can attempt: dry rescue; in the water contact; and non-contact rescue.

Dry rescue: Look around to see what you can use — rope, float, t-shirt, dupatta, bottle, stick… anything that you can use to pull the person out of the water.

In the water-non-contact rescue: Like using a bottle to which you and the victim can hold on to from either ends.

In the water-contact rescue: Only in the end, try the contact rescue (if you know swimming, that is), during which you have to approach with caution because the victim might pull you down as well out of fear. If you are caught by the victim go under water where the victim will not follow you. To avoid being pulled down by the victim, you could pull the victim using his/her hair.

Note: When going to the beach or for a swim, dress appropriately because in a lot of cases, the weight of the dress itself might pull you down.

Burns

Stop-drop-roll

Extinguish the flames with a blanket. This is better as it gives you control over the victim’s movement.

Move away from heat source or remove it, if possible.

If you are helping another out, make sure you are not wearing highly flammable material like synthetic to avoid catching fire

Submerge the affected part in cold water for at least 10 minutes

Remove all jewellery

Release tight clothing that may constrict blood flow

Call the doctor or take them to one

In case you are trying to reach out to a victim in a smoke-filled room or area, crawl to avoid getting suffocated by the smoke. Smoke being lighter moves upwards

Electric shocks

Don’t touch the victim as he/she may still be in contact with the electrical source and may pass the current through you.

Turn off the source of electricity, if possible, like unplugging the appliance, switching off the main, etc. If not, separate the victim from the source using a dry, non-conducting object made of wood (eg: stick), plastic (eg: broom handle) or rubber (eg: flipflops)

Once it’s safe to touch the victim, lay him/her down and, if possible, position the head slightly lower than the trunk with the legs elevated.

Check for pulse or signs of breathing or movement. If If absent, begin CPR and call the emergency services.

Heat stroke/ exhaustion

In coastal areas like Chennai, Mumbai where there’s a humid weather people suffer from heat stroke and in cities like Delhi and Hyderabad where there is dry heat, people suffer from heat stroke.

Symptoms: Dizziness, headache, flushed and dry skin, rapid and shallow breathing, nausea, disorientation or loss of consciousness and nose bleeding, especially in the case of heat stroke.

Move the victim into a shady or cool place.

Bring down the temperature gradually; do not cool him/her immediately. Fan the victim, spray cool water or cover with wet cloth.

If the victim is thirsty, have him/her drink cold water or wet a piece of cloth and make them suck on, if you think giving them water directly could choke them.

Administer water or fruit juice with a pinch of salt to make up for the loss of sodium in the body.

Choking

Option A: Hold the person from behind and apply pressure right below rib cage with a clenched fist. Grasp it by the wrist with the other hand and press hard into the abdomen in quick upward thrusts.

Option B: Hit between the shoulder blades while making the victim bend forward with his/her mouth open.

Option C: If you are stuck alone and are chocking, use a chair or anything that comes up to the level (below the rib cage) and push yourself against it. Got a piece of chocolate stuck down your throat? Run down a slope quickly with your upper body slight bent forward and this usually does the trick get the piece out.

Road accidents

Call the emergency services.

If the victim is not seriously injured, move him/her away from the scene, else don’t move the person. Do not move the victim if he/she has suffered a neck, head and hand injury, which can be identified by the awkward position the person is lying in.

Calm the victim with a simple gesture like placing the hand above the head.

Try to make the victim lie on his side rather than on his back.

Keep talking to the person so that they do not go into a state of unconsciousness.

If unconscious, DO NOT try to give the victim soda or water.

In case of external bleeding, apply pressure to the wound using a plastic cover or a piece of cloth.

If possible, lift the wounded area above heart level so that it cannot bleed when kept against gravity.

In case of a broken limb, make a temporary splint using a wooden plank or piece of cardboard and securing it with a cloth, till help arrives.

Emergency numbers:

National emergency number – 2611

Police – 100

Ambulance – 101

Fire station – 102

Besides, make a note of the numbers of your local hospitals and other help lines.