For this page I'll be rather brief but I feel to express some thoughts on the subject of first aid.
As I'd mentioned in the Urban Preparedness section of my website about First Aid Certification, that taking a course may be beneficial to you and to others.
Please consider taking a course from an authorized first aid course provider instead of only reading about first aid in a book, or on the internet, and then possibly utilizing what you have learned on someone later on.
Don't get me wrong, there is valid information out there, and good books on the subject, but a course will enable you to have hands-on practical experience with an instructor there to answer any questions that you may have. Good books and good information that may be found on the internet may then be of better service to you.
However, even if you take a course in first aid, you should only act within the bounds of your certification, or you may make an injured persons situation worse, and open yourself up to a lawsuit as well.
Good Samaritan laws which are designed to protect a good-willed rescuer from lawsuits, vary from one place to another, so get informed for the area where you live to know your rights. To illustrate the point a little here, you don't perform a tracheotomy if someone's airway is blocked, but do as the instructor will teach you to do in such a situation. No invasive procedures are permitted or taught in a Standard First Aid course. Leave the invasive procedures for the doctors.
Another example, stitching wounds in the field by first aid workers is not recommended by the Red Cross, yet you'll see suturing kits being sold on the internet, or butterfly sutures (bandages) to close up a wound that a regular person like you or I can obtain. Given the less than ideal conditions that exist in the outdoors or during an emergency, if you close the wound without properly irrigating it first as they can do in a hospital setting, infection is a real possibility. You can irrigate a wound with clean water in the field before dressing it, but don't stitch the wound.
It takes proper training, technique and procedures, so once again leave it to the doctors. If a doctor isn't available, do as you will be taught by a reputable first aid course provider, and leave it at that. A larger scar may be the result of not stitching it, but you would have done the right thing. A person has the option of going to the hospital when the timing will permit, and then see what options are available to deal with any scarring. The choice is yours to make, but remember to act within the bounds of your certification as mentioned above, or you will be on thin ice.
The goal in becoming first aid certified is to be able to help someone get back on their feet if possible, and if not, to be able to tend to the injured party until professional help is available. With their training, expertise and equipment, they'll take over and provide the more advanced medical care that is needed.
Your help will have been invaluable, for you would have been the bridge between the injured party and the necessary professional services required. Your efforts may well save someone's life, or prevent them from having enduring medical complications that could have occurred, if no help had been provided to begin with.
If you are interested in taking a course, have a look at the Links page under First Aid Related to find a first aid course provider in your area.
If you do take a course, I thank you for your efforts, and you will be a more valuable asset to your community and family as a result of your training, especially in an emergency situation.
If you really want to receive a training that will take you even further and that would be beneficial during a time of emergency, it would be to take a Wilderness and Remote First Aid course like the one given at the Red Cross. They have an advanced course as well which shows more technique and gives the participant more hands on practice.
Don't let the name of the course fool you, it says wilderness and remote, but the key is that the techniques shown for wilderness and remote first aid can also apply in an urban setting during a time of a major disaster. The techniques for caring for someone in an urban setting are taught as well.
This course includes Standard First Aid course techniques and goes further, plus they teach you how to improvise with what you have at hand, both modern and natural resources, to make splints, stretchers, cervical collars etc. Have a look if you are interested. The Canadian Red Cross gives Specialty First Aid courses that you'll find here. You can then do a search on their website for a course provider nearest you for the course that interests you.
There are other providers of this sort of training. Have a look at the links page under First Aid Related on my website for first aid course providers.
Finally, if you have taken a course in the past but haven't renewed your certification, you should consider renewing it in order to be current in your training, as well as to refresh your memory.
If your renewal was due as an example 12 years ago, you'll need to retake a course altogether. This is normal. Contact a first aid course provider nearest you to find out what will be required if you hadn't renewed. If you see that your card is about to expire don't wait, but make an appointment right now to renew.
Also, it is like a driver's permit, if you do not renew it you cannot legally drive a motor vehicle. Likewise if you do not renew your first aid certification certain protections of having a valid certification may be denied you, especially in the event of something going wrong after you applied first aid to help someone. It is your responsibility to renew and remain current in the latest techniques.