What are the 5 Main Aims of First Aid?

What are the 5 Main Aims of First Aid?

The 5 main aims of first aid are preserving life, preventing injury or illness from getting worse, relieving pain, aiding recovery and protecting the unconscious.

The primary aim is to of course save lives. These main aims are so important in doing that, if they are properly implemented.

All organisations need trained first aiders to respond to unexpected health issues at work. Some people may require first aid training for their job, like care workers and those working with young children. However, all employees benefit from an in-house first aider for health security.


Main Aims

Preserve Life

Preserving life is the primary aim, and it involves making sure that an injury is not life-threatening. This can involve calling ambulances as soon as possible and performing CPR in extreme circumstances.

Someone trained in first aid should also check for vital life signs, to see if an injury is life-threatening. Signs to check for include evidence of movement, breathing, responsiveness, heart rate, and identifying any particularly bad external injuries.[1]


Prevent Injuries from Getting Worse

To avoid injuries from getting worse, a first aider should not move the patient if they are bleeding or have a fracture. In addition, cleaning wounds with antiseptics prevents infection and more problems down the line. For fractures, tell them to keep the body part still and use something soft to pad the area.[2] In addition, remove any external risk factors.

Risk factors are anything that can make an injury worse for the patient. For example, if a person has broken their leg in the middle of a huge crowd, get people to move away from the patient. Try and make space, so that people don’t accidentally bump into the patient and cause more pain.


Relieve Pain

First aid must reduce suffering at all costs, by making patients as comfortable as possible.

This may involve giving them pain medication, ice packs for impacts as well as elevating wounds. These steps are part of the RICE procedure,[3] which involves:

Rest: Do not move the affected area

Ice: Apply ice to the affected area, especially for impacts

Compression: Wrap the area in a bandage

Elevation: Raise the affected area up to increase blood flow


Aid Recovery

This is the practice of helping a person heal their wounds, in the short and long term. Aiding recovery involves wound bandages and putting pressure on a bleed.

Pressure is needed to stem the flow of blood, so tell the patient to put their hand on the area of the bleed whilst the helper prepares other aids. If the patient is unable to do this because of the injury, the first aider should do it. In addition, advise the person of what to do when they go home, like change bandages daily to avoid infection.


Protect the Unconscious

Unconscious persons are the most vulnerable, and they need extra protection.

Start by identifying and clearing any hazards away from the person. This is done to avoid more harm to the unconscious person and avoid any harm to the first aider.

Next, check for the important vital signs. If there isn’t a heartbeat, you may need to kick-start the heart with CPR.

If you do not think a person has a spinal injury, then put the person into the recovery position. This involves lying the person on their side and using their arm to support the head. Bend legs and arms to avoid the person from rolling over. [4]

Overall, these 5 aims of first aid are vital to remember. If you can’t remember them all, then try to at least recall the three Ps. This is because if you are a first aider at work, you never know when you might need them.


You can view our First Aid online training course here

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153849.php

[2] https://www.firstaidforfree.com/the-aims-of-first-aid-three-ps/

[3] https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/first-aid-and-emergencies-20/emergencies-and-first-aid-news-227/first-aid-for-pain-644845.html

[4] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/first-aid/recovery-position/