Assessment, Communication, and Resources

Assessment, communication, and resources are ongoing and integral components of a first aid response. Safe and successful first aid administration depends on quick, accurate assessments of the scene and patient; the ability to communicate important information to the patient, bystanders, and EMS personnel; and the correct and timely use of necessary equipment, materials, and other resources in the application of patient access, rescue, and care.


Assessment includes:

  • Recognizing an emergency has occurred
  • Determining if the scene is safe
  • Determining what happened, how many are ill/injured, and what resources are needed
  • Obtaining a general impression of the patient
  • Identifying life-threatening conditions (e.g., unconsciousness, airway obstruction, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, severe bleeding, etc.)
  • Identifying conditions that are not life threatening but require attention
  • Monitoring vital signs and changes to the patient’s condition

Emergency Communications

Communication in an emergency involves:

  • Activating the emergency action plan (if applicable)
  • Making the emergency phone call or sending others to do so
  • Requesting equipment and assistance from other first aid responders
  • Directing bystanders
  • Obtaining consent from the patient
  • Obtaining the patient’s chief complaint
  • Completing a patient history
  • Explaining to the patient how you plan to help
  • Employing therapeutic communication with the patient and the patient’s family
  • Using verbal cues (e.g., counting aloud when performing CPR, repeating AED directions, etc.)
  • Tranferring care and reporting the patient’s condition to EMS personnel
  • Completing incident and prehospital care reports
  • Obtaining witness statements

First Aid Resources

Resources for first aid include:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Automated external defibrillators (AEDs)
  • Oxygen equipment
  • First aid kits/obstetrics packs
  • Dressings, bandages, and splints
  • Emergency personnel

More Details

These assessment and communication guidelines are described in more detail on the following web pages: