Prepare first responders and volunteers involved in first aid teams to know how to address the specific medical- and health requirements of men and women, children, persons with disabilities, older people and people who are chronically ill.
General tips for providing first aid to persons from at-risk groups:
- As with all first aid, ask permission to help and explain what you intend to do.
- Avoid stereotypes and make no assumptions about what abilities the person has or does not have.
- Be confident and reassuring.
- Speak directly to the persons who are assisting, not their relative or care giver. If you cannot understand what the person is saying, politely ask them to repeat.
- Get permission before touching assistive devices, including wheelchairs.
Providing first aid for a blind person:
- If you need to leave the person, let him or her know that you are leaving and will be back.
- Narrate your actions so that the person can follow what you are doing.
- If you’re unsure about how to aid, ask the person how they would like you to do so.
Providing first aid for a person who is deaf or hard of hearing:
- Get the person’s attention before speaking. The best way to do this is usually by lightly touching the person’s shoulder or gently waving your hand.
- Ask the person how you can help. Don’t shout.
- Communicate patiently. If communication is difficult, ask if the person prefers to communicate in another way, such as using a pen and paper.
- If the person uses a hearing aid and you are having trouble communicating, minimize background noise or move to a quieter area, if possible.
Providing first aid for a person who is deafblind:
- "Deafblind" describes persons who have some degree of both vision and hearing loss. Many people who are deafblind are accompanied by an intervenor (a professional who helps with communication).
- If an intervenor is accompanying the person, tell him or her who you are, but then speak directly to the ill or injured person.
- Don’t touch the person abruptly and don’t touch the person without permission.
Providing first aid for a person with a physical disability:
- There are many different types of physical disability, and not all of them are visible.
- Do not diagnose the person: what matters is determining whether the conditions you encounter are pre-existing or whether they are signs of the injury or illness you are providing care for.
- Speak naturally to the person (physical and mental disabilities are not the same thing).
- Adjust your position if necessary, so that you can make eye contact with the person while providing care.
Providing first aid for a person with an intellectual or a developmental disability:
- As much as possible, interact with the person as you would with anyone else in the same situation.
- Use straightforward language when communicating.
- Give one piece of information at a time.
Providing first aid for person with a speech or language impairment:
- If possible, ask questions that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
- Give the person time to communicate and answer your questions.
- Wait for the person to finish speaking and do not try to finish his or her sentences.
Persons with disabilities, older people and other at-risk groups may also have a role to play in training delivery in terms of providing practical advice and tips based on their lived experience. First aid responders should also practice communication with persons with sensory or mental disabilities ahead of time.
Given the likelihood that acute medical care is be available during emergency, the role of first aid responders may include:
- Assisting disaster-affected individuals to prevent worsening health conditions.
- Helping with locating assistance to repair mobility and assistive devices.
- Facilitating obtaining medicines and medical supplies, or alternatives to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities affected by the disaster (e.g., in some areas this may also include assisting with locating back-up power for persons who depend on electrically powered medical and assistive devices).