What are the 3 Ps of First Aid?

There are lots of different roles and responsibilities of being a First Aider but there are 3 key aims.  I think these apply equally well to anyone when you go to someone’s aid.


Preserve Life – Your’s and their’s.  It’s hard sometimes in an emergency to stop and think.  In  DRABC the D is for Danger.  It’s important to check for and reduce the risk of any hazards.  If you injure yourself going to the aid of someone else you’re no use to them and you make the job of the emergency services harder.

When I’m teaching I give my learners examples of things that have happened to me, I give no casualty information only initial details of the environment, for example it’s dark and raining you’ve just gone round a bend and over the brow of a hill and you’re faced with hazard lights and you can see something lying in the road – what do you do? What are your hazards?  I recommend the Lifesaver interactive video as this highlights this really well in the first scenario.


Prevent the situation from worsening – this is when we start to use our skills.  This is when we consider whether someone needs to be moved.  This can be a difficult question to answer but your priority is to preserve life so if that’s not possible in their current position either due to hazards or a blocked airway then they need to be moved, how much will depend on the risk of further injury.  As ‘prevent’ also includes preventing further injury.

One of the injuries I find concern people the most is neck injuries and deciding if someone should be moved.  My advice is if they are safe and able to breath in the position they’re in then there is probably no need to move them.  If there is immediate risk to life or they have a blocked airway then they will need to be moved.


Promote Recovery – again this is when we can use our skills as a first aider.  An example would be by cooling burns for an appropriate length of time or ensuring that someone is seen within an appropriate time-frame if they have an open wound that may need treating.  Also getting help for the casualty, arranging transport to Minor Injuries/A&E/Doctor as needed is part of the role in promoting recovery.


Would you like to learn more?  Please get in touch.