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medical responders assist a patient who has been looked after by the three cs of first aid

Do you know your three Cs of first aid?

We all know that emergency events don’t care whether you’re hosting a party or watching your kid’s first swim meet – they can strike anywhere, at any time. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared, vigilant, and know your stuff. In other words, that’s why it’s so important to know the three Cs of first aid.

Since someone could be injured or have their health suffer near you at any moment, it’s a wise move to get familiar with basic first aid practises like the three Cs. Doing so means that you’ll be able to handle the basics and quite possibly help save a life at a truly critical moment – though full first-aid training also wouldn’t go amiss for that!

Regardless, the basic three Cs of first aid act as a basic guide for how you should react in an emergency medical situation, e.g. if someone goes into cardiac arrest or a child hurts themselves playing sports. This template is incredibly straight-forward and well worth spending a couple of minutes committing to memory.

What are the First Aid Cs?

The First C of First Aid

Check – Check the immediate environment for any signs of danger or hints that there’s anything unsafe nearby. Possible hazards could take the form of fire or smoke, moving vehicles, or broken machinery.

This “Check” step is important not only for the sake of the patient, but to make sure that the first responder will not be putting themselves in harm’s way too when they attempt to help the victim.

While checking, you can also note whether there is anyone else on the scene who could be of help, if necessary.

The Second C of First Aid

Call – Acting quickly to provide assistance is absolutely vital in an emergency medical situation.

The speed at which responders are able to get to a patient and administer care often makes the difference between life or death and every second counts. That’s why after performing a check of the scene and seeing whether the patient is still breathing and has a pulse (if they can be safely reached), 911 or the equivalent local emergency number should be called immediately.

You should assist the authorities by giving them all of the information you have about the patient, their medical situation, and location. Remain calm and speak clearly – the responders are there to help you and the patient, and getting panicky can lead to miscommunications and lost time.

The Third C of First Aid

Care – Now that you’ve performed checks and informed authorities, first responders will be needed to administer initial medical care until the professionals arrive to take over.

Again, only if it is safe for you (and/or anyone else on the scene with sufficient knowledge and capabilities) to do so, you should begin monitoring the victim’s breathing and pulse.

If any specific care is needed, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), do it to the best of your abilities – even an untrained attempt at CPR is going to be better than doing nothing at all. Pay attention to things like the victim’s positioning – proper positioning can help with breathing and stopping blood loss where that’s a concern.


Having learnt these three Cs of first aid, you should have absorbed a simple guide to how to respond in an emergency situation.

However, going on to receive proper CPR and first-aid training would still come in extremely useful..

You’re much more likely to be able to remain calm and will know how to administer appropriate care far more effectively, possibly keeping someone alive where you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Anyone can take a first aid course, and anyone can benefit from having a first-aid responder in the vicinity if they suffer an accident.