Basic First Aid Knowledge

basic first aid knowledge

How up to date is your first aid knowledge? Would you know what to do in case of an emergency, or should you consider doing a first aid course?

Everyone knows that first aid knowledge is important but like many things in life, taking the time to update your first aid knowledge can slip all too easily down the to-do list until you get to the point where you’re really not sure if you have the basic first aid knowledge you should have. If this is you, where should you start? And what basic first aid knowledge should you have?

First aid kit - Why basic first aid knowledge is important

First Aid is the immediate care you give to a person after an accident or illness. Its primary goal is to maintain the person’s life, prevent the condition from getting worse, and aid recovery. 

Why basic first aid knowledge is important?

Having basic first aid knowledge can benefit you in a number of ways. Not only will you know how to respond to a wide range of situations, but you’ll also increase your self-confidence and self-esteem. In situations involving casualties or trauma, the skills you learn will come in handy. Learning first aid will not only protect yourself, but it will also help others. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any situation, and it will increase the chance of saving lives.

While you’re at work or at school, it’s still a good idea to have some basic first aid knowledge. This will help you if someone in your workplace or at home is injured or becomes ill. Basic first aid knowledge is crucial for anyone, including children, so it’s a good idea to get training if you’re going to be around people who don’t know much about medical care. It’s important to know what to do if someone is hurt in an accident, whether or not it’s your fault. 

Do a first aid course

The best first step is to complete a first aid course, or if you have done one previously, to update your skills because first aid techniques are regularly updated as technologies and new research findings result in better ways to treat patients in a first responder situation.

Many organisations run first aid courses designed to teach you basic first aid skills, so you know how to respond in an emergency. Some even run one day courses and refreshers. The most important thing is to choose a first aid training provider with a reliable reputation. St Johns Ambulance Australia is one of the better-known suppliers. The Australian Red Cross is another well-known organisation that offers first aid courses.

Consider getting key staff in your workplace upskilled as well by sending them on the first aid course too. But if you can’t do a course, then the next best thing is to understand some basic points about first aid.

Know your ABCs

There are three critical things to look for in any situation requiring an emergency First Aid response. And they’re grouped under the handy acronym, ABC. The ABC forms the backbone of the DRSABCD Action Plan.

  • A stands for Airway;
  • B stands for Breathing; and
  • C stands for CPR (or cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Follow the DRABCD Action Plan

Follow these simple steps in any emergency situation requiring basic first aid skills.

D stands for danger.

Check that there is no danger around the injured person and don’t put yourself at risk or in danger when you go to the assistance of an injured person. An example would be if a person was pinned under a live powerline. In that situation, it’s too dangerous for you as a first aider to attempt to move them or to go near them. But the general rule of thumb is, that if you can move them out of harm’s way, then you should do so.

R stands for Response.

Check for a response from the injured person. Are they conscious? Can they squeeze your hand or open their eyes?

S stands for Send.

Send for help by calling 000. Check the response first though, so that you can give this vital information to the operator. You may need to stay on the line for some time as the operator gives you instructions on how to treat the patient.

A stands for Airway.

Is the person breathing? Is their airway clear?

  • Responsive patient with a clear airway – If you have a responsive patient with a clear airway, then they may be able to help you assess their injury. Ask them questions as instructed by the 000 operators.
  • The non-responsive person or a responsible person with a blocked airway – Check the patient’s airway by opening their mouth and checking inside. If that isn’t easy to do, or if the airway is blocked, put the patient on their side, clear their mouth of any blockages and check to see if they are breathing.

B stands for Breathing.

Look for chest movements and if you can’t see any, put your face close to the patient’s face to see if you can feel any breath coming from their nose or mouth.

  • The person is breathing – Place them on their side (if you haven’t already done so) and monitor them until the ambulance arrives.
  • The person isn’t breathing – If the person isn’t breathing, then you need to commence CPR.

C stands for CPR (or Cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

If your patient is unconscious and also isn’t breathing, lie them on your back and prepare to commence CPR. Take instructions from the 000 operators if you are still on the line and if any bystanders have gathered, ask if anyone there has completed CPR training. It’s best to get someone with CPR training to perform CPR if you possibly can. But if you’re on your own, it’s a life or death situation and you’ll need to perform CPR on the patient.

Place the heel of one hand in the centre of their chest and place your other hand on top. Press down to a third of their chest depth 30 times. Then give two breaths to the patient by pinching their nose, tilting their head back and placing your mouth firmly over theirs, and blowing firmly into their mouth.

Keep going with this routine of 30 to two repeating the process approximately five times in two minutes until the patient responds or help arrives. Many organisations provide pocket sized instructions for CPR. Consider carrying one of these cards in your car so that you have it on hand if needed. Also, consider carrying a first aid face mask so that you can protect yourself from infectious diseases as you administer CPR. Some companies manufacture pocket sized masks that you can carry on your keyring.

D stands for Defibrillator.

If your patient is an adult who is unconscious and not breathing, uses a defibrillator if there is one available. Defibrillators are increasingly common in public places and some workplaces – you could even consider installing one in your workplace.

Defibrillators work by applying an electrical shock to the heart. They are equipped with instruction booklets, so follow the instructions. If the patient responds, put them on their side in the recovery position.

CPR lessons - First aid basics and knowledge

Carry a first aid kit in your car

It’s a good idea to have a basic first aid kit in your car so that you have items like scissors and bandages on hand in the event of a less serious emergency.

Have a first aid kit at home

It’s also recommended that you have a first aid kit in your home, along with a card that carries instructions for CPR. Some organisations manufacture fridge magnets with CPR instructions, and these are handy for the fridge in your home or office.

Have a first aid kit at the office

All businesses should have a first aid kit on their premises. How complex the first aid kit needs to be will depend on the risk level in your business. Jim’s  Test and Tag supplies first aid kits to businesses and can carry out a risk assessment and advise you on the best first aid kit for your organisation.

While you’re talking to them about your first aid requirements, you can also cover your fire protection requirements and organise your electrical safety tests such as test and tag and safety switch testing. With over 150 franchises across Australia, there’s bound to be a Jim’s Test & Tag close to you. Jim’s Test & Tag will provide a free quote for their services and can also perform risk assessments for you on site, phone 13 15 46 for more information.


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