Choking, How to Help & What to Look for

Choking can happen to anyone of any age, and is one of the worst fears for many new parents as it happens fast causing serious problems including death. In most cases where the victim can still cough the object will come free on its own. However once the victim is unable to cough anymore the airway is potentially blocked and the victims life is now in jeopardy.

The most common causes of chocking include trying to swallow large pieces of food, eating while talking, walking or playing, being under the influence of an intoxicant or elicit substance while eating.

What to look for:

  • Inability to speak, cough or breath
  • Change in face color like bluish, red, or paler than normal
  • Look of panic with wide eyes “Fear”
  • One or both hands clutching the throat or flailing
  • High pitch whistle or noise when they attempt to breath or cough

In the Adult or Child once you have identified yourself and that you are going to attempt to help them:

  1. Encourage the Victim to continue to cough the object free
  2. If the victim can no longer cough, speak or breathe
  • Stand or kneel beside the victim and wrap one arm diagonally across the victims chest
  • Bend the victim forward at the waist at a 90 degree angle
  • With the palm of your hand deliver 5 FIRM BACK BLOWS between the shoulder blades to encourage them to cough.

3) If the object has NOT come free in the first 5 Back Blows

  • Quickly stand the victim up strait and place one hand in a first just above the belly button thumb side in.
  • Place your other hand over your fist hand and pull sharply in and up in a ” J ” like Motion 5 Times

4) Repeat the 5 FIRM BACK BLOWS & the 5 ABDOMINAL J THRUSTS until they POP or DROP.

5) If the Victim becomes unconscious and is not breathing Call for help 911 and begin CPR 30 Compression, 2 Breaths, Repeat 5 Times in a row.After your 5th cycle of 30/2 if the victim is not breathing repeat until help arrives.

To prevent yourself or others from chocking just remind them to chew food well before swallowing, eat slowly and calmly, try not to talk, laugh or do physical activities while chewing and avoid mixing meals with other substances which could alter your personality.

In any situation remember to
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

Swoop Into First Aid and Give a Breath of Life, Let First Aid Be your Saving Grace

What to do while you wait for an Ambulance?

After rescuing a victim there are many things that can be flowing through your mind. Did I do this right? Was my First Aid technique proper? Is there anything else I can do to help the victim? These questions are normal and there are even more that will pop in during an emergency.

Normally an Ambulance within an Urban setting can take anywhere from 5 too 25 minutes to respond, in Rural area’s response time can vary from 15 to 40 minutes an in most cases where distance is past 30 to 45 minutes a helicopter service may be deployed to meet you somewhere. In essence this means after you’ve rescued the victim you may have a little time to make sure that your First Aid techniques have helped.

We call this skill while your waiting a “Secondary Survey“, its your second chance to find something you might have missed during your primary survey. The Secondary Survey can be performed quite easily in two simple fashions, Hands On or Hands Off. What we mean by this is you can pat the person down from head to toe looking for injuries you might have missed “Hands On“, or “Hands Off” and ask the victim to tell you what’s going on.

Both techniques are easily performed but have their uses, the Hands on Check is normally performed for victims rendered unconscious due to the emergency they experienced, and the Hands Off check likewise is performed for victims still conscious enough to walk you through the emergency by asking them the SAMPLE history questions.

What to Do while waiting for an emergency?

  1. Care for the cause of the Emergency
  2. Have the victim rest in a position of comfort or the Recovery Position
  3. Keep the victim warm
  4. Ensure the victim is breathing and has an open airway
  5. Offer comfort, warmth and reassurance
  6. Double check “Hands on / Hands Off” SAMPLE Questions
  • S – Signs & Symptoms -Whats wrong
  • A – Allergies – Do you have any?
  • M – Medications – Are you on any?
  • P – Past Medical History – Has this happened before?
  • L – Last Meal – When / What did you eat least?
  • E – Event – Do you remember everything?

In any Emergency Setting just remember to:
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

Swoop into First Aid and Give a Breath of Life, Let your First Aid Training be your Saving Grace.

SHOCK – What to look for & How to Help

Shock is one of those things that all of us will experience sometime in our life and yet many of us have forgotten that it also can be a deadly scenario. “Shock Always Has A Cause” and that’s one thing that we can use to help us treat it, once you figure out what has caused it “Fix it” and shock will begin to lessen.

Shock happens when your body goes through a sudden internal or external event causing the body to demand more oxygen rich blood. In doing so the body will focus the remaining oxygen rich blood it has into key body parts to sustain your life and yet leave others unattended. Any vital organ which does not have enough blood or oxygen will eventually begin to fail. This is why “Shock Can Be Deadly“.

Anyone can go into Shock, even those rescuing the victims
To make it easy just remember that “It Doesn’t Matter what caused the Victim to go into shock” once you figure out what caused it “Fix it“.

Shock can often be caused by:
-Excessive Blood Loss – A Weak Heart – Extensive Burns – Infection – Excessive Fluid Loss – Fear or Anxiety – and many more

What to look for:
Altered Personality – Extreme Anxiety – Cool / Clammy Skin – Pale Skin tone – Confusion – Excessive thirst – Rapid Breathing – Nausea / Vomiting / weakness – Drowsiness.

How to help:

  • Move or Remove the victim “If possible” from the area that may be causing the shock.
  • Assess the victim and find the root of the cause “Shock Always Has A Cause”
  • Offer comfort / warmth and reassurance
  • Treat the cause of the shock and follow your local emergency response techniques.

In any situation we hope that you follow the simple rules

Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!


How to Help a Victim into the Recovery Position

There are many different ways to help a victim during an emergency, but what can we do if we find someone unconscious? If the victim is “Unconscious without Spine Injuries” the Recovery Position is designed to help keep the victims airway open as well as keeping the Head, Neck & Spine in a relatively strait line so that they can Recover. Many people have used this position not even thinking about it when they were even sick, injured or intoxicated.

To Perform the Recovery Position:

  1. Kneel Beside the victim and place the victims furthest arm from you above their head.
  2. Place the arm closest to you across the victims chest as a protector arm.
  3. The Key is in their Knee, bend the nearest leg up at the knee.
  4. Carefully slip your hand under the hollow of the victims neck to support the Head Neck & Spine, at the same time use your forearm by slipping it carefully under the shoulder for leverage.
  5. Place your free hand on the Key Knee and gently roll the victim away from you by applying steady pressure against the knee and shoulder at the same time. The victims head should rest on their raised arm.
  6. To secure the position pull the key knee further up and bring their protector arm out to use the elbow to stabilize the position.
  7. Check the Airway to make sure their still breathing.

We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.

Just Remember too:
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

Assisting a Conscious, Drowning Victim

Drowning can be a very dangerous situation not only for the victim but also for those attempting to rescue people in danger of drowning. You should always refer to a special trained rescuer like a lifeguard to rescue someone by swimming out. The fear of drowning can cause a panic response in victims which can lead to the victim inadvertently dragging the rescuer down with them.

If you do see someone in danger of drowning and you have access to flotation devices like water-boards, pool noodles or something that you can hold out to reach the victim follow these simple steps:

  1. Lay down flat on the ground to gain an anchor point for your body, spread your legs and firmly brace yourself.
  2. Hold out the object so that the victim can grab it.
  3. Brace yourself and pull the victim towards the edge of the water allowing the victim to secure themselves.
  4. Help the victim from the water if safe to do so.

In any Emergency just remember to:
Protect yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

Performing a Primary Survey

How do you perform a Primary Survey?

The phrase “Primary Survey” can be a little hard to decipher if you have never taken a First Aid Course before, not only that but it is always hard to remember specific steps in any Emergency Setting for those who are not dedicated Emergency Medical Professionals.

The best way to think of the “Primary Survey” is to think about the bodies Primary Need. As humans we use many fuels to support our life, however there is one in specific that all our bodies needs hinge on. “Oxygen“. Oxygen is the key to any emergency, if the victim is breathing but unconscious roll them into the recovery position, if the victim is “Not” breathing “Start CPR“. That means your “Primary Survey” is simplified to this… The victim “is” breathing… Or … The victim is “not” breathing.


To perform the Primary Survey look for the Primary Need by performing these 3 steps.


1) Check the Scene for Safety, then check the victim
-They are breathing, They are “Not” breathing
2) Call 911
3) Care For the Victim.

These steps are designed to help you in any emergency. The difference may be someones life. Always remember too…

Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

Preparing for Emergencies or Disasters at Home

Preparing For Emergencies at Home
The benefit to preparing for emergencies at home can be infinite as we never know what could happen. It’s always good to have a plan for any injury or illness that could happen within the home. First Aid and CPR training will help build your confidence to take care of these unexpected emergencies.

  • Tips to Prepare:
    -Keep important information about you and your family handy.
    -Post Emergency contact numbers in the boot room
    -Teach Children how to call for help
    -Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors function
    -Keep your first aid kit up to date
    -Have a plan that everyone knows

These steps are there to help you:

What role does EMS play in an emergency?

The Emergency Medical Services
Most common it is believed that the Emergency Medical System starts with paramedics and nurses, the truth in fact is that the Emergency System begins with “You”. There are many reason’s why you may hold back from helping someone in an emergency, fear of infection, fear of Liability, fear of repercussions or even fear of helping in the wrong way.

  • Just remember that in Alberta you are “NOT” obligated to perform any act of First Aid even if you are certified. However we do hope that you would help or at the very least Call 911.
  • Even if your nervous calling 911 is still helping. Emergency workers will only come and help if you call 911.

Protect yourself!!! Call 911!!! & Don’t Wast Time!!!

Should we drive an injured person to the hospital ourselves?

Should you drive an ill or injured person to the hospital?

This question gets asked by students taking our first aid courses all the time, and we do see the conundrum that many face in an Emergency as Liability, distance, Time or even a persons life may be at stake. For these very reasons we have come up with the simplest way to look at it.

Try not to……, but if you do decide to take a person to the hospital we have included some steps to keep you and the victim safe.

  • Step #1 – “911 on Speaker Phone” – Have 911 on speaker phone so everyone knows what the dispatcher needs you to do. This will also let the hospital know you are coming.
  • Step #2 – “Take a Partner” – Have a calm person drive while you continue care. Having a partner to help in an emergency setting can make all the difference.
  • Step #3 – “You Can NOT Speed” – as your vehicle is not a designated emergency vehicle its lack of visibility and sirens will put you and others into danger if you attempt to break the rules of the road. Just remember, if you get there safely, the victim will too, Better safe than sorry.

Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

Moving A Person Before Providing Care

Moving a Victim before you provide care has been a question that almost every class brings up. Its a great question with a simple answer There are some reason’s when moving a person may be the only option to save their life or even prevent them from further injury. To do this there are some simply techniques.

  • -Collar Drag – Roll the person’s clothing behind their neck in a ball in your hand, bend with your knees and lift with your legs, drag the victim to safety.
  • -One Arm Drag – Kneeling at the head of the victim slide the persons torso into your lap, lay one of the victims arms across their chest and reach through their opposite arm pit to grip their folded arms wrist, slip your other hand under the other arm pit and grip the folded arms forearm, bend with your knees, lift with your legs and drag to safety.
  • -2 Person Collar Drag – Combine the one arm drag technique with adding a partner, each rescuer should grab the collar on opposite sides of the victim and facing in the direction you wish to go bend with your knees and lift with your legs dragging them to safety.
  • -2 Person Carry – Combine the one arm drag technique to lift the victim’s torso and add a partner to lift the legs by folding them across each other gripping by the lower leg under the calf, face in the direction you wish to go, bend with your knees, lift with your legs and carry the victim to safety.

Above all else remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Wast Time!!!