U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Learn First Aid

The Basics

Do you know what to do in an emergency? What if someone has a heart attack or gets stung by a bee?

An accident or emergency can happen at any time. Giving first aid is what you can do to help someone before medical help arrives. Taking action right away can help save a life.

  • Learn when to call 911.
  • Learn how to help someone who is choking.
  • Take a class to learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). CPR can help when someone’s heart or breathing has stopped by providing chest compressions — strong presses on the chest to keep blood flowing.
  • Keep a first aid kit in your house and your car.

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Plan ahead for injuries and emergencies.

Learn when to call 911.
Call 911 when you need help right away. Call 911 if someone is seriously hurt, stops breathing, or if there is a fire. Don’t call 911 for problems like a flat tire.

Learn what to do when someone is choking.
When someone is choking on food or a small object, it’s important to act right away. You can stand behind the person who is choking and press your fist against the person’s stomach to force out whatever is causing that person to choke. This is called the Heimlich (“HIME-lik”) maneuver.

Take a first aid and CPR class.
Taking a class can teach you how to give first aid and CPR correctly. This training will help you respond quickly and safely in emergencies.

Find a first aid and CPR class in your community.

Keep a first aid kit in your house and your car.
A first aid kit has the things you need to treat someone who is hurt. It includes supplies like bandages, tape, and scissors. It’s a good idea to have one kit for the house and one for the car.

Make sure each first aid kit has directions on how to treat basic injuries and when to get more help. After you use your kit, remember to replace the supplies.

Use this list to check the supplies in your first aid kits.

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