Sometimes it’s difficult to tell which injuries can be addressed immediately with first aid or best treated at your local urgent care center. For those injuries that you tend to with first aid skills before going to an urgent care center can go a long way in helping a casualty.

It could even mean the difference between life and death if someone experiences a medical emergency that requires emergency room (ER) care.It’s important to have the right knowledge regarding first aid steps, as well as how to administer them correctly.

Here’s a look at some first aid basics to consider before making the trip to an urgent care center or possibly an ER:

Check the Scene and the Ill/Injured Person

Before diving head-on into administering care, it’s best to do an assessment of the scene and the casualty. Identify the situation, evaluate any safety risk, and assess the extent of damage an illness or injury has affected anyone involved. Also the person(s) has any life-threatening conditions, like severe bleeding that won’t stop or a traumatic head injury.

Obtain Consent to Perform First Aid

In the instance that the ill/injured party is alert and responsive and is absent severe, life-threatening condition, obtain consent before administering first aid care. Introduce yourself and your qualification/level of training, the type of treatment you plan on administering, and get official consent to provide care.

Get a First Aid Kit

Point to a bystander and call aloud for assistance when you come in contact with the casualty.

Be sure to use appropriate protective equipment (PPE), like gloves or a mask, to ensure safety in case the person is bleeding or has a contagious medical condition.

Gather information about the casualty, like signs and symptoms, allergies, medications, medical history, and even events prior to the medical episode. Do a body check, from head to toe. Initiate care based on the conditions that you discover and that’s consistent with your first aid knowledge and training.

Check Responsiveness and Breathing

Try and get a response from the casualty by shouting their name, if known. Tap the shoulder of an adult or child, and flick the bottom of the foot of an infant to prompt a response, shouting again and checking to see if the breathing pattern is normal.

In the absence of obvious signs of injury, position the person onto their side; if the person is having difficulty breathing, position him/her face-up on a firm, flat surface and begin CPR, if necessary. If the breathing condition is mild to moderate, an urgent care center might be an option to get treatment.

Before going to an urgent care center, or even the ER, see if you can perform basic first to stabilize the person. You may either keep treatment at a minimum or even save a person’s life!