Can You Pass This Emergency First Aid Test?


By: Lauren Lubas

7 Min Quiz

Image: Hinterhaus Productions/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

First responders are heroes to many. However, in emergency situations, a few seconds can be the difference between life and death, and it can take emergency medical professionals minutes to arrive at a scene. That is why it is so important to know basic first aid in an emergency situation. Helping emergency medical professionals begin the triage process with first aid is a great way to help save a life and/or a limb.

However, sometimes it can be difficult to determine if an injury or occurrence warrants emergency assistance. While many people consider the most basic injuries to be emergencies, others won't seek emergency medical help even if they lose a finger. However, most people find themselves right in the middle: they know when to apply a band-aid and when to call 9-1-1, but they aren't sure about those odd injuries that can go either way, and they find it difficult to determine what kind of medical attention a patient might need.

Sure, you may know a little bit about first aid, but knowing how to handle an emergency situation might be a little different. Additionally, there are a lot of medical situations that most people who aren't in the medical field won't recognize as emergencies. 

If you think you've been in every emergency medical situation, take this quiz to see if you can identify the extent of the medical situation you are in, and if you are equipped to help those around you in emergency situations. 

Which of these is NOT a sign of heatstroke?

There are many telltale signs of heat stroke. They include dizziness, headache, seizure, fainting, and trouble breathing. Some of these symptoms might not appear until someone is out of the heat, so be sure to pay attention to the person even after he or she is indoors. While many signs of heatstroke go unnoticed or ignored, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know starts exhibiting them.


Which of these medications DOESN'T put a person at risk of heatstroke?

According to, medications that affect how your body reacts to heat can put you at higher risk of heatstroke. These medications include things like laxatives and diuretics that can quickly make you dehydrated; beta-blockers or seizure medications; and even allergy medications that have antihistamines. If you or someone you know is on any of these medications, make sure to look for the warning signs of heatstroke. Talk to your doctor if you take any of these medications and discuss how you can avoid heat-related illnesses.


If someone you know becomes disoriented or loses alertness, which of these questions should you NOT ask him or her?

Asking someone simple questions when it seems as though they are losing cognitive abilities is important, because it can help you determine whether or not they are losing brain function. If the patient answers simple questions incorrectly or incoherently, seek professional medical attention immediately. If you take the patient to a physician or the emergency room, make sure you note how long the change in mental status has lasted (even if it is no longer happening), and try work your way backward to pinpoint what triggered the change.


Which of these might cause a person to go into shock?

Shock doesn't just occur after a trauma. As a matter of fact, there are numerous ailments that can cause a person to go into shock, including illness or a reaction of some sort. According to, "When a person is in shock, his or her organs aren't getting enough blood or oxygen." That means that permanent organ damage or failure can occur (which can lead to death) if the shock is left untreated. If you suspect that a person is in shock, make sure you call 9-1-1 immediately to get him or her proper medical attention.


Someone you know is exhibiting the classic signs of shock. What should you do after you call 9-1-1?

Shock often causes people to lose blood and oxygen to their vital organs. It's important to get the person as relaxed and unrestrained as possible if he or she is in shock. If the person is breathing properly, make sure to keep him or her still after you've laid him or her down. You can work on loosening or removing any tight clothing if it doesn't disturb the person too much. If the person is cold, cover him or her with a blanket.


You are eating dinner when, suddenly, your significant other starts violently coughing. What should you do first?

If the person is coughing, that means he or she is getting air to the lungs, which is essential. Make sure you pay close attention to the person until he or she dislodges whatever is caught in his or her throat or esophagus. If the person stops breathing or his or her airway is blocked, you can then perform the Heimlich maneuver.


While cooking dinner, your significant other drops a knife onto his or her foot. The knife is not embedded, but there is a lot of blood. How do you stop the bleeding?

If a person is severely bleeding, it is important to stop the blood flow as quickly as possible. Luckily, the human body is equipped to attempt to handle the situation (with a little help). By applying pressure to the wound, you will stop the blood flow and allow the blood that is currently on the wound to clot, helping it to naturally stop bleeding. If bleeding persists, seek medical care. If the bleeding is severe, and the person begins to feel lightheaded, call emergency services, and keep pressure on the wound until they arrive.


If a person is bleeding, should you have them lay down?

If possible, lay the patient down on a warm or padded surface to ensure that they don't lose too much body heat. Do your best to elevate the wound to slow the blood flow as much as possible and apply pressure to help stop the bleeding. Remember that gravity is strong and your blood is not immune to its powers. That is why our hands fall asleep when we hold them up in the air for extended periods of time.


If a person is burned, what are the signs that you should seek emergency medical attention?

There are many items around your house that can cause burns. Heat (from cooking and fire), chemicals, and electricity are three very common causes. While most burns don't require medical attention, there are signs that will tell you if a person needs more than just first aid. According to, most minor burns are virtually harmless. However, if the burn is discolored, deep, or larger than 3 inches in diameter, you should seek emergency medical attention.


Your significant other is lighting the grill when suddenly, a burst of flames catches his shirt on fire. What is the FIRST thing you should do?

While you definitely want to do your best to put the fire out, it is important to also ensure that the person won't catch fire again. That is why it is essential to get him safely away from the source of the flames.


Your child burned his hand on the stove. The burned area is red and blistering. Which of these should you avoid doing?

Our skin blisters as a way to protect it from outside harms, including germs. Second-degree burns generally blister, because our skin is trying to protect itself. Popping this blister can be incredibly painful and it does nothing to protect the skin or help the would heal. If your child is burned, first cool the burn and bandage it (if possible). You can also apply lotion or aloe to help soothe the burning sensation.


You're at a party, and someone you know is having a heart attack. Which of these is NOT a step in helping the patient?

While there are a lot of causes of chest pain, if you recognize a heart attack, it is essential to call emergency services immediately. The operator can walk you through different methods of helping the person while the emergency medical team is en route. It is proven that chewing on a regular-strength Asprin can help thin the blood and fight a heart attack; however, if the patient is unconscious, you may find that you have to do CPR.


You are at a pool party, and a friend gets stuck under water. When he is pulled out of the water, he is unconscious. What should you do before you start CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?

Being faced with a drowning victim can be very scary, especially if that victim is young. If you are at a beach or a public pool, make sure that you get the attention of a lifeguard as soon as possible if there is a drowning victim. If you are at a private pool, call for anyone who may know CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.


While cleaning your house, you accidentally spray bleach into your eye. What are the first two things you should do?

Getting chemicals sprayed into your eyes can be incredibly painful, but it is important to stay focused and wash your eyes out with water as soon as possible. If you have saline solution, you can also use that to wash your eye out, but you should never attempt to flush your eye with anything else.


Your child was playing outside when she was bit by a dog. The wound doesn't appear to be a deep puncture, what is the first thing you should do?

If a person has been bitten by a dog, it is important to clean the wound first. Dogs' mouths carry many different germs that can cause infection. Additionally, if you don't know the dog or owner, you will want to make sure your child doesn't get any diseases caused by dog bites. Cleaning a dog bite with soap and water will also help you better examine the affected area and assess the damage. If the wound is a deep puncture or requires stitches, make sure you seek medical help as soon as possible.


What is the most common cause for the following symptoms: Nausea, low-grade fever, dehydration, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and vomiting.

Kidney failure is usually associated with lower back pain and discolored urine. Heart-related illnesses usually exhibit signs in the back and chest, and dog bites are generally visible wounds. When it comes to food-borne illnesses, your body will work hard to discard and expel the cause of the illness. This means the person may have excessive diarrhea and vomiting, both of which can lead to dehydration.


If someone near you has been electrocuted, when should that person see a doctor?

Any person injured by an electric shock should seek medical attention. While some shocks seem minor, you should still contact your primary care physician to ensure that the patient is functioning properly. Severe electric shock that leaves burns on the skin should be attended to immediately. If the person is still connected to the source of the electric shock, turn off the electricity to the area before attempting to touch the person.


Which of these isn't a reason to contact 9-1-1 after an electric shock?

According to, it is important to attend to a person who has been injured by an electrical shock. If the person is unconscious or confused, call 9-1-1 immediately. Place bandages over any burned skin to protect it from germs and bacteria. If the person isn't breathing, perform CPR as 9-1-1 dispatch prompts you to do so.


Your child has successfully embedded a tiny toy into her ear. What is the first thing you should do?

While we often believe that cotton swabs are good for the ears, when a person has something lodged in his or her ear, a cotton swab can actually make it worse, because it will end up pushing the object in further. If there is an object in your child's ear, try to extract it gently. Make sure you aren't pushing it in more, and if you are, contact your primary care physician to make an appointment to extract it.


Your child has stuck a Cheeto up his nose, and now it is stuck. He tried to get it out, and just broke it off. What should you do to help him?

Never attempt to dislodge a foreign object from the nasal cavity by sucking in or pressing on it from the outside of the nose. This can cause severe injuries. If your child has lodged a foreign object in his nose, have him blow gently outward to try to dislodge it. If possible, use tweezers to help dislodge the object, but be careful not to impact it more.


Are there fractures (broken bones) that do NOT require medical attention?

No matter the severity of a fracture, the person should always seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your body starts healing as soon as it is injured, and if the injury is a fracture, the body will try to heal the bone as is. Remember, fractured bones don't set themselves; as a matter of fact, they should only be set by professionals.


Do ALL allergic reactions require emergency medical care?

Many people face allergic reactions to food, pollen, and pet dander on a daily basis. These rarely require emergency medical care; however, there are times these allergic reactions can become very severe. If you are prone to anaphylaxis, make sure you keep an Epi-Pen on you at all times. If you or someone you know goes into anaphylaxis, be sure to call 9-1-1 immediately, even if an Epi-Pen has been administered.


Which of these is a sign of anaphylaxis?

There are many surprising symptoms of anaphylaxis. They include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms are usually accompanied by swelling of the throat, lips or face. It is important to monitor a person you believe to be having an allergic reaction, as many of the symptoms for an allergic reaction are also symptoms of anaphylaxis.


What is the difference between a scratch and an abrasion?

"Scratch" and "abrasion" can be used in the same context. The reason medical professionals use the term "abrasion" is because it is more specific. While "scratch" can mean a lot of different things in the medical world (including as a verb, i.e. "scratch an itch"), abrasion simply means a break in the skin's surface.


Which of these species of North American snake ISN'T poisonous?

Garter snakes rarely bite, but they can become irritable if they just laid eggs or shed their skin. They will bite, but their bites generally aren't poisonous to humans. If you are bit by a poisonous snake remember that your first line of defense is to remain calm and move slowly out of the snake's striking distance, so you aren't bitten again.


If you are bit by a venomous snake, should you tie a tourniquet above the bitten area?

We may have all learned that applying a tourniquet is a good idea if you have a snake bite. Most people saw this on some fictional television show or movie, and consider it to be accurate information, because it seems legit. Why wouldn't you stop the blood flow from an area injected with poison? Well, the truth is, the tourniquet can cause more tissue damage and damage to the limb or extremity that has the bite. That is why it is so important to seek professional help if a poisonous snake bites you.


You are bitten by a snake in North America, how can you determine if the snake is poisonous?

The most common poisonous snakes indigenous to North America are coral snakes, rattlesnakes, water moccasins, and copperheads. According to, you can spot one of these poisonous snakes by looking at its eyes, which have slits; checking the shape of its head, which is usually triangular; and checking for indents between its eyes and nostril on either side of its head.


Your friend fell off of a ladder in your home, and is now complaining of intense pain in his back and neck. What is the first thing you should do?

If you suspect the person has a spinal injury, never move that person. Call 9-1-1 immediately, and make sure he or she stays perfectly still until medical professionals arrive. Do not try to put the person in your car to drive them to the emergency room. This kind of movement can cause a greater injury.


If your child incurs a suspected spinal injury during a football game, when should you remove his helmet?

In the case of spinal injuries, allow expert medical professionals to remove any clothing or accessories from the injured person. This includes shoulder pads, helmets, belts, and shoes. Removing these items can lead to greater injury, because the motion can cause too much movement.


Your child begins to cough. When you look at her, you notice that her lips are swollen and there is a lot of redness around them. She starts vomiting. What could be the cause?

If you think your child has ingested something poisonous, make sure to contact poison control immediately. Try to identify what was ingested by looking around the room. See if you can find any sign of something spilled on the floor or open that he or she may have gotten into. Other signs of poisoning include difficulty breathing, drowsiness, confusion, and breath that smells like chemicals or hazardous materials.


Your daredevil nephew got a little rambunctious on the skateboard and sprained his ankle. What should you do?

A sprained ankle can be painful, but it rarely requires medical attention. While monitoring the injured area, be sure to watch for swelling that won't go down and bruising that gets worse. Sprains can take a long time to heal completely, but if there is new or worsening pain (or if the person can't put any weight on the injured ankle), a physician should be seen to rule out a hairline fracture.


You're hiking with a friend when she is stung by a bee. She has no insect allergies that she knows of. When should she seek emergency medical attention?

Anaphylaxis is incredibly serious and can lead to death. Even if someone doesn't know of any insect allergies, anaphylaxis can occur. Most allergies can show signs later in life, which could lead people to be unprepared for emergencies. If you are hiking with someone who exhibits these signs after getting stung by a bee, make sure you find your way back to the trail head (if possible) and let other hikers know that you have an emergency. Call 9-1-1 if you have service.


Which of these is considered a "mild" reaction to a bug bite?

If the person has no history with allergies to bug bites, a small red bump is pretty common. If you are unsure whether or not the person has a severe allergy, draw a circle around the red area near the bug bite, and monitor it to see if it grows. If the irritation spreads, the person exhibits signs of anaphylaxis, or the area around the bite becomes discolored, take the person to the emergency room immediately, or dial 9-1-1.


What does F.A.S.T. stand for in the case of a suspected stroke?

If you suspect that you or someone you know is having a stroke, check the F.A.S.T. system. Does the patient's FACE droop? Have the person try to raise his or her ARMS. If one raises higher than the other, you could be facing a stroke. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. If there are issues with the person's SPEECH, this is a common sign of a stroke. If you suspect that a person is having a stroke, TIME matters. Contact 9-1-1 immediately. Other signs that a person is having a stroke can include weakness or numb feeling on one side of the body, dizziness, and severe headache.


Your roommate returns from class on a very cold winter day. She is shivering, and incredibly cold. What should you do?

Signs of hypothermia include shivering, mumbling, loss of coordination, confusion, and loss of consciousness. If you suspect that a person is suffering from hypothermia, call 9-1-1 immediately. While you wait for the paramedics, be sure to remove any wet clothing from the person (if you are indoors and it is warm and dry where you are), cover the person in dry blankets, and have them drink warm drinks (with NO alcohol).


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