• Could you tend to a child who had fallen off a bike and was bleeding profusely?


  • Could you provide first aid if someone was suf-fering from a third degree burn?


  • Would you recognise the signs of a heart attack or stroke?


If you answered ‘NO’ to any of these questions, you are not alone.


Only a handful of Australians – less than 5% - are actually first aid trained.


And while studies show that most people are willing to help out in a first aid emergency, a stag-gering 94% are not confident in their abilities to


help and more than two thirds of people just don’t know what do. The difference between life and death can be a matter of minutes. Hence, performing first aid before the ambulance arrives can save a life or prevent a more serious injury.


Did You Know?


  • Up to 85% of preventable road accident deaths could be avoided by administering basic first aid at the scene of an accident before the emergency services arrive


  • Only 22% of people who suffer a sudden heart attack get CPR before the arrival of an ambulance


What Is CPR?


Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a potentially life-saving first aid tech-nique. If started soon after someone’s heart stops beating, it increases their chance of survival. If no CPR is performed, it only takes three to four minutes for the person to become brain dead due to a lack of oxygen.


Performing CPR keeps the blood circulating to it can distribute oxygen around the body, so the brain and other organs stay alive until the ambulance arrives.


If there is any doubt about whether a person is in cardiac arrest or not, CPR should be started straight away. If a person does not require CPR, they will probably re-spond to the attempt. Performing CPR is unlikely to cause any harm to the person if they are not actually in cardiac arrest.


The basic steps for performing CPR can be used for adults, children and infants. These are:


D – Dangers                       Ensure the area is safe for yourself, others and the patient.


R – Response?                 Check for response—ask name—squeeze shoulders. If


there’s a response, make them comfortable, check for


injuries, and monitor their response.


S – Send for help            Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance, or ask another


person to make the call.


A – Open airway              Open mouth—if foreign material is present, place in the


recovery position and clear the airway with fingers. Open


airway by tilting head with chin lift.


B – Normal breathing    Check for breathing—look, listen and feel. If there’s normal


breathing, place in recovery position and monitor breathing.


Manage injuries and treat for shock. If there’s not normal




C – Start CPR                    —30 chest compressions: 2 breaths,


Continue CPR until help arrives or patient recovers.


Everyday First Aid


Thank goodness, not every emergency is life-threatening. But first aid is also a very useful everyday skill. Basic first aid techniques might be needed at home, at work, at school, or on holiday. Can you help in an emergency?


First aid emergencies could include – cuts and scrapes; nosebleeds; burns; bites and stings; asthma; fractures; sunburn; poisons; concussion; low blood sugar; choking; sprains and strains; severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis); heat exhaus-tion and heat stroke; and hypothermia.


More children die of injury than die of cancer, asthma and infectious diseases combined. In fact, injuries are the leading cause of death in Australian children, ac-counting for nearly half of all deaths (over 250 children each year).

For More Information


To read about CPR and for a range of first aid fact sheets, go to stjohn.org.au/first-aid-facts. Or better yet – enrol in a first aid training course today!


First aid information and courses are available from organisations including St John Australia and the Australian Red Cross.


And remember, the message is clear…


First aid saves lives. Your knowledge can make a difference.

DISCLAIMER: This material contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical or professional advice, nor should it be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating any illness. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your local pharmacist or health care provider to obtain professional advice relevant to your specific circumstances.