Why you need basic first aid skills

In an emergency, five minutes can save a life.

Written by Robert Hunt

Would you know how to save a life? In a survival situation, five minutes can make all the difference if you have the skills to perform basic first aid, St John Ambulance Australia says.

First aid training gives you the knowledge and skills to effectively respond to an emergency. Most importantly, it also gives you the confidence to act when needed.

We had a chat to Robert Hunt, St John Ambulance Australia CEO, about how first aid training can save lives.

Who should learn first aid?

Everyone should learn at least some basic first aid techniques. You never know when you might need them – you could be at home, at work, at school or on holiday.

Whether it's a minor situation or something more serious, first aid knowledge will give you the confidence to act. You could be the difference between life and death.

"The first minutes following an accident are crucial. Having first aid knowledge and skills will enable you to respond quickly to any emergency situation."

First aid training can help you to:

1. Act quickly

The first minutes following an accident are crucial. Having first aid knowledge and skills will enable you to respond quickly to any emergency situation.

2. Stay safe anywhere

Accidents and injury can happen anywhere, anytime – at home, on holiday or at work or school. With first aid knowledge you can be create a safe environment no matter where you are.

3. Be confident in an emergency

Taking care of someone in an emergency can be a daunting task. People face anxiety, stress and panic resulting in unsatisfactory care of a casualty, particularly if you do not know what to do. Learning first aid will give the confidence to treat a patient until medical help arrives.

4. Stay up to date

Over time first aid treatments change and our memories fade. Keeping up to date with your first aid training is vital to ensure you know what to do in an emergency situation.

5. Boost your professional development

Most businesses and workplaces are now obligated to meet first aid compliance according to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Codes of Practice. By completing first aid training, you can help your workplace meet the requirements and help improve your job opportunities.

What are some situations where you might need first aid skills?

Living in Australia in spring and summer means outdoor activities like trips to the beach, picnics and sports. Some situations that can result in injuries are blue bottle stings, shark attacks or even drowning, which is why the more prepared you are, the better your chances of surviving or helping someone in need.

In an emergency situation every minute counts. By being first aid ready you can help minimise injuries and save lives in everyday crisis situations.

For example, in Australia around 30,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest each year. On average, only 9-10% of these people survive. Chances of survival greatly decrease with everyone passing minutes which is why knowing what to do in the five minutes is vital.

What does a first aid course teach you?

Our first aid courses provides you with the skills and knowledge required to provide a first aid response to a casualty. In a St John Ambulance course you will learn:

1. How to correctly perform CPR.

2. How to follow the DRSABCD Action Plan.

3. How to treat bites and stings.

4. How to treat strains, sprains, dislocations and fractures.

5. How to treat chest and abdominal injuries.

And much more.

Learn more about first aid training with St John Ambulance Australia.

Written by Robert Hunt

Robert Hunt is CEO of St John Ambulance Australia, and has previously held senior executive roles in the Australian Medical Association, Medicines Australia and the National Heart Foundation.

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