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What to do in an emergency?

Anyone may find themself in a situation where they must help an acutely ill or injured person. Good basic first aid skills will help you assess the emergency and give a solid foundation to helping.

Anyone might need help – you, a family member, a co-worker, or just an incidental passer-by. First aid skills will help you assess an emergency and get started with helping.

The person first on the scene must try to form a picture of what has happened. In a life-threatening situation, or something that may be one, the emergency services should be contacted quickly by telephoning 112. If there are multiple helpers, task-sharing is essential: one person will begin assessing the situation and rendering first aid, another contacts emergency services and warns others as required.

When you call the emergency number 112, a trained emergency response centre operator will assess the need for help and alert a paramedic unit or other help.

When you call the emergency number 112

  • answer the emergency response centre operator’s questions

  • follow the instructions you are given

  • only end the call after receiving permission from the ERC operator

After assessing the situation and contacting emergency services, those in mortal danger must be saved. The risk of possible additional casualties should be taken into account as well. It is important to act in a considered manner so as to not jeopardize your own safety or that of others.

The most important element of first aid is ensuring the victim has an open airway and an appropriate circulation, and giving first aid until professional help will arrive.

Anyone can give first aid, no matter the training or ability. It is still beneficial to look into first aid guidelines in advance and practise first aid techniques on your own or through online first aid courses. First aid skills will help you assess as situation and to render needed aid. The Emergency Hub offers first aid online courses to help you prepare for emergencies.

More in-depth first aid guidelines can be found on the Finnish Red Cross website and the Terveyskirjasto health library’s First Aid Guide.

Updated 1.5.2021