Learning first aid techniques can help you cope in an emergency. First aid skills may be able to help to keep a person breathing, to reduce their pain or to minimise the consequences of injury or sudden illness until an ambulance arrives.
First aid is not hard to learn, and provides you with an invaluable set of skills that you can use any time they're needed.
First Aid Training
It's a good idea to take a first aid course so that you can recognise an emergency and give basic first aid until professional help arrives.
You might be able to arrange to do a first aid course through your work or through any community organisations or sporting groups that you are part of. You should ask your employer, coach, supervisor or mentor if this is a possibility for you.
Many organisations offer first aid training, including:
You may also be able to do an online first aid training courses available if you are unable to attend a course in person.
First Aid Apps
St John Ambulance Australia has created a First Aid app (new window), available for iPhone and Android, that presents step-by-step emergency First Aid information to the user with a large clear image for each step.
In An Emergency, Call 000
First Aid is a way to help people to survive until professional medical help can be given. It's not a substitute for professional medical help.
In any medical emergency the first thing you should do is call 000 and ask for an ambulance. 000 is a free call from anywhere in Australia, including mobiles. If your mobile phone is out of range from your normal network then you can dial 112.
When you call:
- Your call is connected to the Emergency Call Service (ECS)
- ECS will answer, "Emergency - police fire or ambulance?" (If you're on a mobile you'll be asked for the city and state you're in)
- Respond with the service/location you require
Your call will then be connected to the relevant emergency service.
When calling for an ambulance you should try and tell the operator:
- The location of the emergency (including nearby landmarks)
- The telephone number from where the call is being made
- What happened
- How many people require assistance
- Condition of the people
- What assistance is being given
- Any other information requested
Don't hang up until the emergency services operator does.
First Aid Kits
As well as knowing some basic first aid techniques, it's important that households and workplaces have a first aid kit that is well organised, fully stocked and readily accessible.
The contents of a first aid kit should be appropriate to cope with a range of emergency situations, depending on the setting.
Restocking First Aid Kits
It's important to remember that once something from a first aid kit has been used, it needs to be replaced or restocked. Making a note of all of the things that have been used makes it easier to restock as part of regular first aid kit maintenance.
Better Health Channel - First Aid
The Victorian Government's official Health website has some basic advice on first aid techniques and first aid kits
Australian Red Cross
Providing first aid training and first aid kits as part of a commitment to help people in need.
St John Ambulance Australia
Providing first aid training, first aid kits and first aid services at community and public events, as well as assistance during national disaster relief.