Basic First Aid Techniques for Survival

Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime. Knowing basic first aid techniques can save lives and improve your chances of survival in various situations. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover essential first aid techniques and tips for dealing with common injuries and emergencies.


Introduction to First Aid

First aid is the immediate care given to an injured or ill person before professional medical help arrives. It can save lives, alleviate pain, and prevent the situation from worsening. The primary goals of first aid are to preserve life, prevent further harm, and promote recovery.

Assessing the Situation

Before administering first aid, assess the situation using the DRABC method, as recommended by Red Cross:

  1. Danger: Ensure the area is safe for both the casualty and yourself.
  2. Response: Check the casualty's level of consciousness.
  3. Airway: Make sure the casualty's airway is clear.
  4. Breathing: Confirm the casualty is breathing normally.
  5. Circulation: Check for signs of circulation, such as movement or coughing.

Common First Aid Techniques


CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a life-saving technique used when a person's heart stops beating. The American Heart Association provides guidelines for performing CPR:

  1. Call for emergency help.
  2. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest, with the other hand on top.
  3. Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute.
  4. If trained, give rescue breaths after every 30 compressions.


If someone is choking, follow the Heimlich maneuver steps:

  1. Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around their waist.
  2. Place a fist just above the navel and grasp it with your other hand.
  3. Perform quick, upward

abdominal thrusts until the object is dislodged.

Wound Care

Treat wounds by following these steps from Healthline:

  1. Wash your hands and put on gloves.
  2. Apply pressure to stop bleeding.
  3. Clean the wound with water.
  4. Apply an antibiotic ointment.
  5. Cover the wound with a sterile dressing.


Treat burns by following guidelines from WebMD:

  1. Cool the burn under cold running water.
  2. Apply a burn ointment.
  3. Cover with a sterile dressing.

Fractures, Sprains, and Strains

The RICE method is used to treat these injuries, as recommended by Cleveland Clinic:

  • Rest: Avoid using the injured area.
  • Ice: Apply cold packs to reduce swelling.
  • Compression: Wrap the area with an elastic bandage.
  • Elevation: Keep the injured area raised above the heart.

Head Injuries

Head injuries can be severe. Look for symptoms such as:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe headache
  • Slurred speech

Seek immediate medical attention if any of these symptoms are present. Meanwhile, follow these steps from MedlinePlus:

  1. Keep the person still and avoid moving their head or neck.
  2. Apply an ice pack to help reduce swelling.
  3. Monitor the person's breathing and level of consciousness.

Hypothermia and Frostbite

Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops below 95°F (35°C). Follow these steps from the Mayo Clinic to treat hypothermia:

  1. Move the person to a warmer place.
  2. Remove wet clothing and wrap the person in warm blankets.
  3. Offer warm, non-alcoholic beverages.

Frostbite is the freezing of body tissues. To treat frostbite, follow these guidelines from Outdoor Life:

  1. Move the person to a warmer place.
  2. Soak the frostbitten area in warm water (100-104°F, 38-40°C).
  3. Avoid rubbing the affected area, and don't use direct heat.

Bites and Stings


Snakebites can be life-threatening. Follow these steps from Healthline:

  1. Keep the person calm and still.
  2. Immobilize the affected limb.
  3. Seek immediate medical attention.

Insect Stings

Treat insect stings by following these steps from Everyday Health:

  1. Remove the stinger by scraping it out.
  2. Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling.
  3. Use hydrocortisone cream or an oral antihistamine to relieve itching.

Wilderness First Aid Tips

Being prepared for emergencies in the great outdoors is essential. Here are some additional wilderness first aid tips:

  • Stay calm and assess the situation before acting.
  • Know your limits and when to call for help.
  • Learn about the potential hazards and risks in the area you're exploring.
  • Keep your first aid skills up-to-date with regular training.
  • Carry a satellite phone or personal locator beacon in remote areas.

Mental Health in Survival Situations

Maintaining mental health during a survival situation is critical. Some strategies include:

  • Develop a positive mindset and stay focused on your goal.
  • Break tasks into smaller, manageable parts.
  • Practice deep breathing and mindfulness techniques.
  • Create a routine and maintain a sense of normalcy.
  • Keep morale high with communication and team-building activities.

Additional Resources for First Aid Training

Expand your first aid knowledge by utilizing the following resources:


This guide to basic first aid techniques for survival highlights the importance of being prepared for emergencies. By mastering these skills, you can save lives and improve your chances of survival in the great outdoors. Make sure to regularly review your first aid knowledge and keep your first aid kit well-stocked.