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First Aid

First Aid Arrangements


This page contains the following information:

How to call a first aider

Call 37499

In the daytime this goes to the emergency line at reception. Be prepared to explain as clearly as possible what has happened and where you are.

At night, this will go to Security. They do not provide first aid cover, but their help is essential if you need to summon an ambulance to someone who is in need of urgent help. Please explain to them what your needs are.

The First Aid Team

The Department currently has eight first aiders. They are called rapidly because they are issued with pagers. If you want to know what the first aiders look like there are some photographs in a frame close to Reception!

All first aiders have received training in handling emergency situations, including the commonest life-threatening conditions. Most have also received training in the specialised treatment for exposure to hydrofluoric acid and to cyanides.

First Aid Boxes

These are located in the following places: (note these maps are only available from Physics computers)

How to Handle an Emergency

First, try to stay calm. If it is normal working hours call 37499 to get a first aider as quickly as possible.

Out of normal hours, you need to take action yourself. Quickly check for danger - especially things that might fall on you, sharp objects such as broken glass, electrical equipment in a dangerous condition. Deal with any danger to you FIRST.


Is the person conscious? If you are not sure, speak to them clearly and try to get a response. Try putting your hand in theirs and telling them to squeeze your hand. Try holding their shoulder and giving it a gentle shake while telling them to open their eyes.

If this does not bring results, they are unconscious. You need urgent help - shout for help NOW.

Check that the casualty's airway is open. Place your hand on their forehead and gently tilt their head back.

Lift the chin slightly and keep it in position with two fingetips. See the photograph(reproduced from the HSE publication IND(G)347 rev 1)

clearing airway

Check that they are breathing - look for signs of their chest rising and falling. Listen. If they are breathing normally place in the recovery position, as shown in the picture (sourced from IND(G)347)


Continue to check for breathing.

Cardiac arrest

There is a page dedicated to the Department defibrillator here.

If the casualty is not breathing normally:

GET HELP. You may be able to increase their chance of survival dramatically by attempting CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

To start chest compressions:
- Place the casualty on their back
- Lean over them and with both arms straight press down on the centre of the breast bone to a depth of about 4 to 5 cm. Then let their chest rise again.
- Repeat these compressions at the rate of about 120 per minute
- Continue with chest compressions until either they start breathing again, or help arrives and takes over, or you become exhausted.
See the photograph (from IND(G)347 rev 1)


Look at the Vinnie Jones full length video to see how easy it is to do 'hands only' CPR .

You DON'T have to do mouth to mouth resuscitation to be able to make a difference (although first aiders will still do this).

The Department has an automatic external defibrillator located beside Reception. Send someone to fetch it; it will talk you through what you need to do. Many lives have been saved by completely untrained people having the courage to use one of these machines. To prepare yourself, watch the instructional video for the make and model that the Department has purchased. Look at the FAQs on their use here. Now watch the BBC news item that demonstrated how easy it was to use the device.

Want to know more? Enrol on a 'Heart Start' course - email the safety officer.

If your casualty is conscious you can tend to other problems.

Are they bleeding?

  • If so, apply direct pressure to the wound (or better still, get them to apply pressure to it)
  • Raise and support the injured part if possible.
  • Get help

Have they suffered burns?

  • Cool the burn in water until it stops hurting.
  • If it is a chemical burn, use running water to flush the chemical away. Ensure that you don't get contaminated as well.

Are they complaining of serious chest pain?

  • Get help as quickly as possible
  • If this is a time of day when there are no first aiders, then call an ambulance 1-999 and explain that you have someone suffering from chest pain.
  • Make your casualty comfortable - sitting up is usually the most comfortable position. However, they should be sitting on the floor, in case they lose consciousness
  • Ensure that you help the ambulance crew to find your casualty as quickly as possible
  • Your casualty may become unconscious - look at the instructions above.

What to do afterwards

If your casualty has been helped by a first aider, please assist them. They may need help in contacting the research supervisor, etc.

If this was the result of a serious accident and the person has had to go to hospital then please do not start to clear up the equipment. It must be left as it is in case the Health and Safety Executive wish to do an accident investigation. Call the Safety Officer as quickly as possible and cordon off the area.

The senior member of staff in charge of the area must be informed as soon as possible.

The incident needs to be reported on the official form; click here. If a first aider attended this incident they will take care of this for you.

Special first aid procedures

Hydrofluoric acid

In this Department we are equipped to handle first aid emergencies that involve burns, but not inhalation. If you wish to use HF at a concentration in excess of 40%, then the Safety Officer must be informed.

All HF users need to be trained both in good laboratory practices but also to understand the need for preventative treatment in the event of having been splashed by HF.

All HF workstations must have the sheet describing safe working practices and first aid procedures on display.

All HF workstations must have a supply of calcium gluconate gel to hand.


The first aid measure for cyanide no longer includes an antidote. Oxygen administration is the principal first aid measure.

All people wishing to use cyanides must contact the Safety Officer, so that we can be sure that the department has a supply of oxygen and sufficient first aiders trained to use it.

This page was last updated 17th March 2015