First Aid

First aid is the first help or immediate care given someone who has suddenly sickened or been hurt in an accident. It is important that one person in each outing group be trained in the principles of first aid and knows how and when to put this knowledge to the best use.

It is strongly recommended that adult leaders in Learning for Life avail themselves of CPR and first-aid training by the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, American Heart Association, city and county health departments, hospitals, or fire departments to be aware of the latest techniques and procedures.

First-Aid Kits

A first-aid kit well-stocked with the basic essentials is indispensable. Choose one that is sturdy and lightweight, yet large enough to hold the contents so that they are readily visible and so that any one item may be taken out without unpacking the whole kit. Keep a list of contents readily available for easy refilling. Keep the kit in a convenient location. Make one person responsible for keeping the kit filled and available when needed. Quantities of suggested items for your first-aid kit depend on the size of your group and local conditions. Latex gloves, eye protection, and mouth-barrier devices for CPR should be included.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

This specialized skill to endeavor to revive victims of cardiac arrest (no breathing, no pulse) may be taught to Explorers by an instructor currently certified by the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, American Heart Association, city and county health departments, hospitals, or fire departments.

Protection Considerations for Blood-borne Pathogens

Many people are concerned about the rapid spread of HIV (the AIDS virus) and try to avoid exposing themselves to this hazard. Health professionals and volunteers in Learning for Life may find they are faced with special concerns in this regard. Therefore, we must know how to act and how to instruct the youth we lead. Recognize that often the victims we treat with first aid are friends and family participants whose health we are familiar. Therefore, in such cases, except when we know they have infectious diseases, we should not hesitate to treat them.

Treat all blood as if it were contaminated with blood-borne viruses. Do not use bare hands to stop bleeding; always use a protective barrier. Always wash exposed skin areas with hot water and soap immediately after treating the victim. The following equipment is to be included in all first-aid kits and used when rendering first aid to those in need:

  • Latex gloves, to be used when stopping bleeding or dressing wounds
  • A mouth-barrier device for rendering rescue breathing or CPR
  • Plastic goggles or other eye protection to prevent a victim's blood from getting into the rescuer's eyes in the event of serious arterial bleeding
  • Antiseptic, for sterilizing or cleaning exposed skin area, particularly if there is no soap or water available

Individuals who might have been exposed to another's blood and body fluids should know the following:

  1. Make knowledge of exposure known to youth and adult leaders.
  2. As a precaution, adult volunteers or youth participants should consider vaccination against hepatitis B.
  3. If a vaccination is recommended, any adult volunteers and youth participants who decline the shots should sign a refusal waiver that should be retained by the local Learning for Life executive for five years.


Near-drowning is a term used to describe a fatality that occurs several hours after resuscitation via CPR of a drowning victim. Lung damage and pneumonia are possible after revival, so all victims should be hospitalized for 24 hours after any incident.

Safety First Learning for Life Guidelines

Copyright © 2002 by Learning for Life