1. Additional 1st Aid Guidance

This guidance is for first responders and others who may have close contact with symptomatic people with potential COVID-19. This includes Security Officers and others who, as part of their normal roles, provide immediate assistance to a symptomatic person until further medical assistance arrives.

2. How COVID-19 is spread

From what we know about other coronaviruses, spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres or less) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person, which may certainly be the case when administering 1st Aid/assisting a casualty.

Respiratory secretions (droplets) containing the virus are likely to be the most important means of transmission; these are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
There are 2 routes people could become infected:

  1. Secretions can be directly transferred into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within 2m) or possibly could be inhaled into the lungs.
  2. It is possible that someone may become infected by touching a person, a surface or object that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as shaking hands or touching door knobs then touching own face).

3. What to do if you are required to assist someone who is symptomatic and suspected of having COVID-19

3.1 Providing assistance:

If you need to provide assistance to an individual who is symptomatic and may have COVID-19, wherever possible, place the person in an area away from others. If there is no physically separate room, ask others who are not involved in providing assistance to stay at least 2 metres away from the individual. If barriers or screens are available, these should be used.

3.2 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Use and dispose of all PPE according to the instructions and training previously provided by your 1st Aid training organisation. Disposable gloves and fluid repellent surgical face mask is recommended and, if available, disposable plastic apron and disposable eye protection (such as face visor or goggles) should be worn. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before putting on and after taking off PPE.

3.3 Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

If you are required to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), you should conduct a risk assessment (this would be a “dynamic risk assessment”) and adopt appropriate precautions for infection control.through and spent minimal time in (such as corridors) but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids can be cleaned in the usual way. However, all surfaces that the symptomatic individual has come into contact with must be cleaned and disinfected.

Where possible, it is recommended that you do not perform rescue breaths or mouth-to-mouth ventilation; perform chest compressions only. Resuscitation Council (UK) Guidelines 2015 for Basic Life Support state that studies have shown that compression-only CPR may be as effective as combined ventilation and compression in the first few minutes after non-asphyxia arrest (cardiac arrest due to lack of oxygen).

If a decision is made to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation in asphyxia arrest, use a resuscitation face shield where available.

Should you have given mouth-to-mouth ventilation there are no additional actions to be taken other than to monitor yourself for symptoms of possible COVID-19 over the following 14 days. Should you develop such symptoms you should follow the advice on what to do on the NHS website.

4. Hand hygiene

After contact with the individual, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand rub at the earliest opportunity.

Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and/or nose, unless you have recently cleaned your hands after having contact with the individual.

There are no additional precautions to be taken in relation to cleaning your clothing/uniform other than what is usual practice.

5. Cleaning the area where assistance was provided

Cleaning will depend on where assistance was provided. It should follow the advice for cleaning in non-healthcare settings. Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed

6. If there has been a blood or body-fluid spill

Keep people away from the area. Use a spill-kit if available, using the PPE in the kit or PPE provided by your employer/organisation and following the instructions provided with the spill-kit. If no spill-kit is available, place paper towels/roll onto the spill, and seek further advice from emergency services when they arrive.

7. Contacts of the unwell person

If anyone had direct contact with the individual and makes themselves known to you, advise them that if they go on to develop symptoms (cough, fever), they should follow the advice on what to do on the NHS website.

8. What to do if you become unwell following contact with someone who may be at risk of COVID-19

If you have already been given specific advice from your employer or Public Health England (PHE) about who to call if you become unwell, follow that advice.

Otherwise, if you develop symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, you will need to stay at home for 7 days – refer to the advice on the NHS website and the Stay at home guidance.

Nick Gilroy
Quality & Compliance Manager