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A first aid team is an organized group of people who arrive at the site of an emergency, such as a house fire, or a natural disaster, and offer timely assistance and preliminary medical care. The first aid crew could be affiliated with the fire department of a city or a professional organization that provides trained first aid personnel for public events. The first aid team may be composed of volunteers from the community or a group of employees could form such a unit for workplace emergencies.
The team’s responsibilities include finding those affected, treating them for minor injuries, and helping those who are severely injured get to a hospital. Typically, individuals who are part of the unit have undergone training in standard first aid procedures and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Some members may hold certification in advanced first aid interventions, and the team may include healthcare professionals such as a nurse or a doctor.
Regional divisions of the Red Cross, fire department and emergency medical service agencies of a city, and professional trainers often conduct first aid training classes. The duration and level of courses may vary; they typically combine lectures with practical training. Some of the areas covered through the courses include bandaging and splinting of injuries, controlling bleeding, and providing CPR. Interventions such as using an external defibrillator in cardiac arrest cases are usually covered in advanced training. Specialized courses in occupational first aid, pediatric first aid, and wilderness first aid are among the available programs; some training programs are accredited and can lead to first aid certification.
The first aid team needs to be adequately prepared to deal with an emergency before it arises. This begins with locating the nearest health facility in the area. The team needs to be equipped with first aid manuals and medical kits and any supplies that they could need. It is recommended that members attend periodic training to stay abreast of changing procedures and treatments, and keep their skills current. Generally the first aid unit is organized by the team leader, who is also in charge of the measures taken on-site if an emergency occurs.
Among the initial steps that a first aid team takes on reaching the crisis site is to locate those who are hurt and treat any injuries such as cuts, sprains, or breathing problems. The first aid provider may have to assist people in recovering from mental trauma or shock suffered. Sometimes there could be serious injuries, so an ambulance may have to be called to get those injured to the local hospital.
If a victim has a broken bone, the first aid provider may have to keep the position stable till ambulance arrives at the site. If it is safe to move the victim, the team responders may take the victim to the hospital. Generally, first aid givers are advised to record specifics such as the nature of the incident, medication or medical care they may have provided, and names of people taken to a first aid station or medical facility.