Resource: First Aid & CPR

Incident Procedure

Calling 999 or 112, ensuring safety and the continuum of care are some of the critical aspects of a first aid responders role. Here we look at procedures relevant to all incidents.

Care Principles

Every first aid incident involves the same principles guiding a response. The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council has listed 15 common principles to adhere to in every effort.

1. Ensure the safety of yourself

How safe it is to provide first aid varies widely depending on the workplace, the context and the environment.

Common hazards putting the first aider at risk can include:

  • road traffic
  • workplace machinery 
  • aggressive behaviour
  • blood or other body fluids

Common control measures include:

  • putting on hazard lights, waiting for traffic to stop and wearing a high-vis vest.
  • cutting power by pressing an isolation switch
  • de-escalating aggressive behaviour before proceeding or waiting for the assistance of others
  • donning gloves, facemasks and washing hands

Currently the risk of Covid 19 cross infection is applicable to all incidents requiring first aid.


At work you should proceed in line with your organisations safety protocols – make sure you know what these are. Outside of work you will need to judge the incident and make safe decisions. Do not proceed until you are confident that it is safe to do so.


2. Call for help early

Call 999 or 112

Know your Eircode. It can help emergency services locate you faster, saving precious time.

Keep calm, answer the dispatchers questions and follow their guidelines. This will not delay the arrival of the emergency services.

Shout for help and get others around you to assist.

Check out the video below for more details.

3. Capacity

A person has capacity in respect to clinical decisions affecting themselves unless the contrary is shown (Assisted Decision‐Making (Capacity) Act 2015).


First Aiders should judge the capacity of the affected person. Keep it simple, if they are unconscious but clearly require assistance – you should provide first aid. If they are alert – introduce yourself and offer help. 

….. and this brings us to the next step

Seek consent prior to initiating care

  • Patients have the right to determine what happens to them and their bodies.
  • For patients presenting as P or U on the AVPU scale implied consent applies.
  • Patients may refuse assessment, care and/or transport.
  • Do not force or threaten a person to allow you provide first aid.
  • If the patient is refusing first aid and you remain concerned, call 999/112.


5. Identify and manage life-threatening conditions

Identify and manage life‐threatening conditions:

  • Locate all patients. If the number of patients is greater than resources, ensure additional resources are sought.
  • Assess the patient’s condition appropriately.
  • Prioritise and manage the most life‐threatening conditions first.
  • Provide a situation report to Ambulance Control Centre (112/999) as soon as possible after arrival on the scene.
6. Ensure adequate Airway, Breathing and Circulation

Ensure adequate Airway, Breathing and Circulation:
• Ensure airway is open.
• Commence CPR if breathing is not present.
• If the patient has abnormal work of breathing ensure 112/999 is called early.

7. Control all external hemorrhage

Follow our detailed guidelines on the Incident Procedure page

8. Identify and manage other conditions

Find details on treating all other conditions via our resources page:

9. Place the patient in the appropriate posture

In most cases this will mean leaving the person in the position they are in or assisting them to sit down.

In some circumstances it may be more appropriate to put the casualty in the recovery position – check out the video at the bottom of this page.

For situations where shock or spinal injury is suspected follow the guidelines on our resource page:

10. Ensure maintenance of normal body temperature

Check out our guidelines for Hyperthermia and Hypothermia

11. Provide reassurance at all times

Explore the role that communication plays in the role of a First Aid Responder

12. Monitor and record patient’s vital observations.

Vital signs are part of your secondary assessment toolkit

Find out more by following the link below:

13. Maintain responsibility for patient care until handover
14. Complete patient care records

Effective documentation can improve the continuum of care.

In the Information Management module we look at all of the options available, follow:

15. Identify the clinical leader on scene

First Aid means

(a) in a case where a person requires treatment from a registered
medical practitioner or a registered general nurse, treatment for the
purpose of preserving life or minimising the consequences of injury
or illness until the services of a practitioner or nurse are obtained


therefore as soon as it’s possible the first aider should identify the clinical lead (registered medical practitioner), handover and continue to assist as directed.

CPGs - Recognition of Death

Image of Ambulance by Golda Falk on Pixabay

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