basic life-saving procedures and techniques everyone should know

Would you know what to do in an emergency? A person has suddenly collapsed; you're at the scene of a bad accident. Of course, call the emergency number but what can you do while waiting for help to arrive? In medicine, the early moments after an emergency are labelled as the "Golden Hour" – because what you do right then may determine the outcome.

That may sound scary. But doctors around the globe have seen countless patients whose lives were saved by a quick-thinking and knowledgeable bystander or loved one. We never know where life may lead – and every single one of us can learn these life-saving techniques. Below are the basic life-saving skills everyone should know to be emergency ready.

Perform CPR

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is performed to provide chest compressions and rescue breaths when the heart is not pumping on its normal pace.

With Adult CPR, the ratio is 30:2. Apply a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute about five to six cm deep. After every 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths.

With Child and Infant CPR, gently deliver quick compressions that are about 1.5 inches deep. Tilt the head of the child/infant and gently provide two rescue breaths.

Continue CPR until the emergency response is ready to take over.

Stop bleeding safely

If someone has a cut that's bleeding, you should make a tourniquet, right? Wrong. Unless the injured person may bleed to death from an amputation, don't try it. Instead, #1: apply pressure and #2: elevate the injured area (if possible), higher than the level of the heart. To apply pressure, ideally use sterile gauze. If that's not available, grab a towel or t-shirt. A clot won't form while it's actively bleeding, so hold just enough pressure to stop the bleeding.

Do. Not. Move an injured person

Injuries are often made worse when someone's well-intentioned friends try to move them/make them more comfortable. Unless someone is someplace truly dangerous (i.e. in the middle of the highway, or at risk of fire or drowning), leave him or her in place.

Heimlich maneuver to stop choking

Please do not perform the Heimlich maneuver unless you are sure that the person is choking. If the person is capable of coughing, then try to get them to cough up the food. If you are concerned about their ability to breathe, then only perform Heimlich maneuver. In order to perform it, first stand or kneel behind the person and wrap your arms around their waist. If they are standing, put one of your legs between his or her legs in order to support them (in case they faint). Next, make a fist with one hand. Then put the thumb side of the fist against the person’s belly (above the belly button but below the breastbone). Grab your fist with your other hand, and give a quick upward thrust into the person’s belly. This may immediately cause the person to pop out the food. If not, do it again with more reasonable force. Repeat this until the food pops out or the person faints.

Spot a heart attack or stroke

The sooner someone spots a heart attack or stroke the better chance the victim has of surviving. As with all of these situations, the first thing you should do is have someone call the emergency number as soon as you recognise the situation, even if it is a potential one. Warning signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort that lasts for more than a few minutes, or comes back more than once. This often feels like uncomfortable squeezing, fullness, pressure, or pain. Other warning signs include shortness of breath, cold sweat, lightheadedness, nausea, and/or discomfort in other areas of the body. Warning signs of a stroke include face drooping/numbness, arm weakness, and speech difficulty. Once the symptoms are spotted, the person having a heart attack must chew aspirin while waiting for the medical services to arrive.

Revive someone from drowning

The first minute after near-drowning is critical. Maintain an open airway by thrusting the jaw open, allowing the person to breathe. Pinch the nose of the victim closed, then cover it with the responder’s mouth to create an airtight seal. Give two breaths followed by 30 chest compressions. Continue this process until the person starts breathing or emergency help arrives.

Treat a Burn

Treatment must take into account both cause and extent. For first-degree burn and second-degree burn:

1. Immediately cool the affected area with flowing water

2. Apply antibiotic ointment

3. Cover the burnt area with a clean, dry, non-stick dressing

For third-degree or fourth-degree burns, seek immediate medical help.