Basic first aid

  • Finger with band-aid


Learn how to identify and treat various types of injuries.


Invite an expert to teach you basic first aid skills that will help you identify, respond to, and treat injuries. These skills are an important part of self-reliance, and they will prepare you to respond to emergencies wherever they may happen. Plan a series of activities that will help you learn and practice these skills. Consider completing a wilderness first aid course before you participate in an outdoor activity that is more than 30 to 60 minutes away from a trailhead or campsite. You may also need to learn first aid that is specific to emergencies in your area. Your instruction could include any or all of the following topics.

Before you provide aid, take the following steps:

  • Check the scene and make sure it is safe for you to help.
  • Immediately call or send someone to alert professional help.
  • If the scene is safe and professional help is on its way, help those in need of assistance.

Life-threatening emergencies: Learn to quickly give first aid when you recognize the following symptoms in a victim.

  • Stopped breathing
  • No heartbeat—perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Severe bleeding
  • Choking
  • Poisoning through eating or breathing
  • Shock
  • Anaphylactic shock

Other injuries: Learn about how to recognize and respond when someone experiences one of the following injuries.

  • Animal bites
  • Blisters
  • First-, second-, and third-degree burns
  • Frostbite and hypothermia
  • Cuts and scratches
  • Eye injuries
  • Fractures
  • Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Nosebleeds
  • Puncture wounds
  • Skin poisoning from plants
  • Sprained ankle

Bandages, slings, and splints for transporting injured people: Learn how to transport injured people using the following methods. You could practice these techniques in groups of three people while one person in the group pretends to be injured.

  • Walking assist
  • One- and two-person carry
  • Four-handed seat carry
  • Blanket carry
  • Stretchers

Rescues: Learn about rescuing people in the following situations. Practice skills, such as swimming, that will enable you to help when needed.

  • Electrical shock rescue
  • Fire rescue
  • Swimming rescue
  • Ice rescue

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