First Aid

What are the Three Aims of First Aid? An Overview

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

What are the three aims of first aid? While many people may be aware of the importance of first aid, only some know the three primary objectives of administering it. First aid is not just about treating injuries or illnesses; it also aims to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, and promote recovery. 

These three fundamental objectives of first aid are often called the “3 Ps” of first aid. Understanding these three aims of first aid can help you act confidently and effectively in emergency situations, potentially saving lives and minimising the impact of injuries or illnesses.

In this write-up, we have compiled a comprehensive overview of the three aims of first aid.

Let’s begin by briefly demonstrating what first aid is.

3D illustration of first aider with stethoscope helping a man on crutches

What is First Aid?

First Aid is the initial medical help and treatment provided to someone injured or fallen ill. It involves providing immediate and temporary medical care until professional medical help arrives.

Regardless of medical knowledge or training, anyone can perform First Aid, though it is suggested that people receive some First Aid training to provide effective and safe care.

Examples of scenarios where First Aid may be necessary include:

  • Burns 
  • Fractures 
  • Allergic reactions
  • Bleeding or severe cuts
  • Heart attacks or strokes
  • Choking 
  • Asthma attacks etc.

Visit our latest blog post to quickly discover how to obtain your First Aid and CPR Certificate!

Now, let’s explore a comprehensive overview of the three aims of first aid.

What are the Three Aims of First Aid?

Whenever someone asks, “What are the Three Aims of First Aid?” you can easily apply the PPP acronym to answer the question. The three aims of first aid are as follows:

PPreserve Life
PPrevent Worsening
PPromote Recovery

Let’s get into the specifics.

First Aid Training session on dummy - CPR

Preserve Life

The primary goal of first aid is to preserve life (P1), which means taking immediate action to guarantee the injured or ill person’s survival. This goal is crucial because, in many emergencies, such as cardiac arrest, serious bleeding, choking, or severe burns, the person’s life may be at risk if prompt and proper action is not taken.

The ABC technique is a simple yet effective method that anyone can use to assess and manage a person in an emergency. The ABC technique includes the —

  • airway, 
  • breathing, 
  • and circulation. 

Visit our blog to learn all about the ABC technique of first aid

To sum up, you must perform the activities below to preserve the victim’s life. These are as follows: 

  • Assess the area for danger
  • Ensure the person’s airway is clear
  • Check the person’s breathing
  • Perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) with rescue breathing if necessary
  • Control severe bleeding
  • Prevent shock
  • Provide oxygen

These measures can help increase the person’s chances of survival and minimise the risk of serious long-term damage. Remember that your life’s safety should never be compromised while delivering first aid service. That’s why you should conduct a risk assessment and look for potential hazards to yourself or bystanders. If a situation is too risky to approach, you should back away and seek professional help.

Close-up of man bandaging injured arm in the park

Prevent Worsening

The second goal of first aid is to prevent the victim’s condition from worsening or deteriorating. This involves reducing the risk of the injured person suffering additional harm or damage. 

Your role is not to cure anything; it is the doctor’s work. All you have to do is ensure the victim is stable.

There are several methods you can adopt to achieve this goal. These are as follows:

Remove the Victim From Harm’s Way

In an emergency, the first aider should assess the situation and remove the victim from any potential danger or harm. This could include moving them away from —

  • a burning building, 
  • a car collision, 
  • or an unstable structure.

Immobilise Any Fractures or Suspected Fractures

If the person has a fracture or is suspected of having a fracture, the first aider should immobilise the affected area to avoid further damage or injury. This could involve applying a splint or sling to the affected area to stop movement.

Treat Any Burns

Burns can create significant pain and damage to the skin, and immediate treatment is crucial for avoiding further damage. The first aider should immediately run cool water over the affected area for at least 20 minutes to cool down the burn and prevent deterioration.

Control Any Swelling

Swelling can happen for a variety of reasons, including —

  • injury, 
  • allergic reactions, 
  • or infections. 

The first aider should control swelling by elevating the affected area and applying a cold compress.

Prevent Infection

In a crisis, the risk of infection can increase because of open wounds or exposure to contaminated materials. Therefore, the first aider should clean the area and apply a sterile dressing to avoid infection.

Monitor the Victim’s Condition

After delivering first aid, the first aider should observe the person’s condition and take appropriate precautions to prevent further injury or worsening of the existing injury or illness.

These measures can help reduce the risk of long-term damage and ensure a better chance of recovery.

 Male doctor and female nurse talking with their senior female wheelchair-bound patient.

Promote Recovery

The third goal of first aid is to promote recovery, which includes providing care to the injured person to hasten their recovery and improve their overall well-being. You can use the following strategies to attain this goal:

Comfort and Reassurance

Delivering comfort and reassurance can help calm the injured person and lessen their worry or stress. This can also encourage a positive outlook, which can assist in recovery.

Pain Relief

Effective pain management can help the victim feel better and reduce stress. Pain relief can be provided through various methods, including RICE treatment. It is a commonly used first-aid technique to manage soft-tissue injuries, such as —

  • sprains, 
  • strains, 
  • and bruises. 

The acronym RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, and each component plays a critical role in promoting recovery.


    • Refrain from engaging in any actions that could aggravate the injury and cause extra damage.
    • Avoid any activities that cause pain or discomfort in the injured area.
  • Use supportive devices, such as crutches, slings, or splints, to help reduce movement and provide comfort.
  • Resting allows the body to start healing without interruption, so giving the injured area adequate rest is crucial for the best chances of a quick and complete recovery.


  • Use a cold pack, ice cubes in a plastic bag, or a towel-wrapped bag of frozen veggies.
  • Apply the ice to the affected area for 20 minutes, with intervals in between.
  • Ice reduces swelling, pain, and inflammation by restricting blood flow to the affected area, which helps prevent additional tissue damage.
  • Using ice for the first 48-72 hours after an injury can also aid in the prevention of scar tissue formation.
  • Avoid putting ice directly on the skin; instead, use a towel or cloth to protect the skin to avoid frostbite.


  • Compression helps reduce swelling and supports the injured body part.
  • Use a compression bandage or wrap that is snug but not too tight.
  • The compression bandage should be adjusted to ensure proper blood flow.


  •  Elevating the affected area above the level of the heart helps reduce swelling.
  • Promotes proper blood flow to the area.


Monitoring the injured person’s state is crucial to ensure they are stable and have no adverse effects. Vital indicators such as pulse, respiration rate, and blood pressure should be checked regularly, especially in critical situations.

Follow-up Care

Following up with the victim can help ensure they get the medical attention and support they need. This can include —

  • setting up a follow-up appointment with a doctor,
  • or guiding self-care steps to promote healing.

Referral to Medical Professionals

In some circumstances, the injured person may require medical treatment beyond first aid. Therefore, referring the injured person to medical professionals who can provide additional treatment and care is vital.

It is important to remember that first aid providers should only provide care within their scope of training and expertise. You can explore and choose our first aid training courses and be prepared for emergencies.


To provide an overview of the three aims of first aid. In order to gain a better understanding of the objectives of first aid, it is important to delve into the three main goals that it aims to achieve. These goals include preserving life, preventing further harm or injury, and promoting recovery. By focusing on these three key elements, individuals who are trained in first aid can effectively provide assistance and care to those who are in need.


What does ABCD stand for in first aid?

ABCD stands for Airway, Breathing, Circulation, and Defibrillation, which are the basic steps to follow in an emergency.

What should I do first in an emergency situation?

In an emergency, remaining calm and assessing the situation quickly is essential. If someone is hurt or needs medical attention, contact certified medical help immediately and administer primary first aid care until professional help arrives.

How do you treat shock?

The first stages in treating shock include:

  • Laying the victim down and elevating their legs.
  • Relaxing tight clothing.
  • Keeping them warm with a blanket.

Getting medical help quickly and checking the person’s breathing and vital signs is crucial.


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Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.