Whenever a medical emergency strikes, all of us usually expect someone else to step up to the plate and give the person in dire need some medical assistance. However, the reality of the situation is that this doesn’t happen. It is down two tow reasons. Number one, people think they will do more damage than actually saving the individual’s life. Number two, they don’t have the life support skills necessary to save someone’s life during an emergency. However, understanding and learning a few basic life support skills and procedures will allow you to help someone get through a sudden situation, well, at least until you can get them to the hospital or the emergency services arrive.

Of course, life-support skills are in no way a substitute for proper medical attention. Plus, regardless of the severity of the medical emergency, it is always wise to contact local emergency services. However, equipping yourself with said skills is helpful as a medical emergency can occur without prior notice, and it is always better to know what to do during one. For some professionals like ER workers and firefighters, they’re a must. Listed below are a few essential life support skills you should know.

Learn to perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

If someone around you has a sudden heart attack, knowing how to perform CPR can prove to be a life-saving skill. You can quickly pump oxygen and blood throughout the body, keeping the victim alive until the professionals arrive.

You can easily acquire CPR training or an ACLS certification online. But here’s a general rundown of the correct method. First, lay the person flat on the ground and put both of your hands on the victim’s chest, with one hand on top of the other. Then compress their chest down, at the rate of 120 compressions per minute or two compressions per second. Continue to do so until the victim regains consciousness or medical services arrive.

Learn to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)

In addition to performing CPR on the victim suffering a cardiac arrest, learning to use an AED is a vital Life-support skill. While CPR will allow you to get the victim’s blood flow going, it won’t restart their heart. Hence, you’ll need an AED and know how to use one.

Typically, these medical instruments are available in public places such as schools, libraries, airports, and shopping malls, to name a few. That said, you can use an AED without proper AED training. The device has voice-guided instructions within itself that will walk you through the entire process of using such a device safely and correctly.

Learn to check vital signs

It is crucial to know how to check a victim’s pulse and breathing during a medical emergency. Firstly, ensure that the area is secure for you to check the victim for signs of life. Next, get down on your knees and ask the victim loudly if they can hear you. If the victim doesn’t respond to your question, visually inspect their chest for expansions and contraction. Plus, place your middle and index finger on the side of their neck or inner wrist to check for a pulse.

Learn how to apply a bandage

When someone gets a cut on their major arteries, they will bleed out in a matter of seconds. So, it is essential to get things under control to prevent excessive blood loss. When a victim starts to bleed, ask them to lie down on the floor and cover them with something, like a blanket. Next, wear gloves, if they are available, of course, and use a bandage or a clean cloth to cover the wound or cut. After that, continuously apply pressure to the affected area for twenty minutes. Once the twenty minutes are over, lift the cloth or bandage and check whether the bleeding has stopped.

However, if the bleeding hasn’t stopped, apply pressure to the major arteries. For instance, for leg injuries, apply pressure behind the knee. And for upper body injuries, apply pressure between the elbow or the armpit. It should slow down the bleeding and keep the victim conscious till emergency services arrive.

Learn the Heimlich maneuver

The Heimlich Maneuver can be the difference between a person dying from choking and living. To perform this emergency medical hack, stand behind the victim and deliver five blows to their back with the lower palm area of your hand. If doing so doesn’t dislodge whatever is causing them to choke, wrap your arms around their chest, join your fists together, and place them between their navel and the bottom of the ribcage. Now, give them five abdominal thrusts pulling back their body as if you’re trying to lift them. This should work.

Learn to support a sprain

Sprains are one of the most common injuries human beings regularly suffer. Sprains occur whenever our limbs or muscle joints twist in a way they are not supposed to. To support a muscle or joint sprain, wrap the affected area with a bandage and keep it elevated until emergency services can closely examine it. Generally, RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is the best treatment for sprains. However, if sprains aren’t taken care of on time, it can result in long-term muscle tissue or cartilage damage.

Learn to treat burns

Typically, there are three types of burns injuries; first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. And each degree of burn requires different treatments. For example, first-degree burns usually aren’t that serious and can be treated with loose gauze and topical home remedies. Second-degree burns, on the other hand, can lead to blistering and inflammation. Treating them requires running the affected area under cold water, then following the same treatment as first-degree burns. Lastly, third-degree burns are the most severe and result in skin numbness, blistering, charring, and whitening. They affect tissues below the dermis. If someone suffers third-degree burns, it would be wise to take them to the ER immediately.


Professionals such as healthcare workers and firefighters typically learn the abovementioned skills by enrolling in CE courses. That said, these skills are not at all difficult to understand and will come in handy during medical emergencies. So, whether you enroll in a life-support skills learning program or take a short two-month life-support course, knowing basic skills such as treating burns, operating an AED, CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, etc., can be highly beneficial.