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First Aid First Steps

Easy to Follow First Aid Planning

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Updated September 18, 2007

Planning for first aid may seem overwhelming if you've never given it any thought, but you're probably already on your way. Have you taken a CPR class, or purchased some adhesive bandages? Maybe you own a cell phone? These are all part of being prepared for dangerous medical emergencies.

Learn CPR

Practicing CPR
© Shad Bolling
CPR training is the most basic of all medical classes, but don't let the term fool you. CPR is the most important medical class anyone ever takes -- and that includes doctors.

Carry a Cell Phone

Calling on a cell phone after a train derailment
David McNew/Getty Images
Carrying a cell phone keeps you in touch with emergency responders. There's no need for a costly plan, any cell phone that gets a signal must be able to call 911 by law.

Learn Basic First Aid

arm splint
Rod Brouhard
This isn't the same as CPR. Basic first aid covers major medical emergencies that require immediate response. If I had to pick only one class, I'd take CPR instead.

Build (or Buy) a First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit
Rod Brouhard
Every home needs at least a few first aid supplies tucked away - even if it's just in a medicine cabinet (like mine). Whether you build your own or buy one off the shelf, keep the kit handy to be prepared.

Organize Your Medical History

MedicAlert Bracelet
MedicAlert Foundation
Personal medical information is invaluable to an emergency medical provider trying to give you life-saving treatment. It's rather important that the information, which might save your life, actually find its way into the hands of the responders.

Sign Up for a Free Email Course

About.com First Aid offers several free email courses to help you learn many of the techniques and find the equipment you need to stay safe and healthy.
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