Be equipped with life saving first aid skills and knowledge in case of an emergency of needing to preserve life.
Simple mnemonic to help you remember the sequence of actions:The Doctors ‘ABC’:
Firstly look for any dangers and if necessary consider moving the casualty.
Assess responsiveness by asking, “Are you OK?” and tapping the casualty on an uninjured part.
Send someone to get help if the casualty is unresponsive or seriously ill or injured.
If you are not sure whether the emergency services are needed, call anyway; they can help you decide (includes Westpac helicopter services).
111 – All emergency services
*500 – Marine Rescue Centre
Ch 16 – VHF – Marine Rescue Centre
Give whatever details you can regarding the circumstances.
Open the airway – tilt their head back by placing your hands under their chin and on the forehead. During unconsciousness the most common cause of airway occlusion is the tongue.
After establishing that the airway is clear and open, check for breathing. If the breathing is slow, the rescuer might need to give assisted breathing.
Look – for the rising and falling of the chest
Listen – for breathing, by placing your ear close to the person’s mouth
Feel – for chest movement (breathing, by placing your hand on the person’s chest and feeling for breath on your cheek when exhaling).
If no breathing is present, pinch the nose, take a deep breath and place your mouth over theirs, trying to get a good seal and blow (slowly). You should notice their chest rise and fall.
To determine circulation we can check for “signs of life”.
Pulse – if they have one – carotid artery in the neck beside the Adams apple.
Pupils – for any movement
Movement – breathing, swallowing, limb movements, etc
Skin colour – normal colour
If you cannot locate a pulse and the person is not showing any signs of life (blue/grey skin, lack of movement), start CPR
Adult CPR (aged 8yrs and older)
2 breaths : 30 compressions
Two hands pushing down in the centre of the chest in line with the armpits
Rate of 100 compressions/minute.
Recheck the pulse every 3 minutes
Child CPR (aged 1yr – 8yrs)
2 breaths : 30 compressions
One hand pushing down in the centre of the chest in between the nipple line
5 compressions should take 3 seconds
Recheck the pulse every 3 minutes
Infant CPR (aged 0 – 1yr)
2 breaths : 30 compressions
Two fingers pushing down in the centre of the chest in between the nipple line
5 compressions should take 3 seconds
Choking Conscious Adult/Child
Confirm the person is choking
Lean the person forward and give 5 back blows
Stand behind the person, give the Heimlich manoeuvres
Continue until the object is cleared
Choking Unconscious Adult/Child
Call for help
Continue until the object is cleared or help arrives
Confirm the infant is choking
Call for help
For unconscious casualties. It helps to maintain an open airway and allows vomit and other fluid to drain freely from the mouth.
Kneel beside the person.
The casualty will be moved towards you with the casualty lying on their back, extend the arm nearest to you above their head
Bring the other arm across the chest
Take the knee farthest away from you and bend the knee upwards
Grab their shoulder and raised knee and roll them towards you onto their side
Tilt the head to ensure the airway is open
Bend the top leg at a right angle to support the position
General cares are the routine actions you must consider for every ill or injured casualty.
These can be remembered from the letters P RRR T. General cares are provided throughout your management. Protection and reassurance start at the very beginning of your contact.
Protect the casualty
Reassure the casualty
Rest the casualty
Remain with the casualty if at all possible
Remove or loosen clothing
Consider their Temperature; they could need covering, insulation from the ground, active warming, or cooling.
This is the identification of problems other than those relating to the airway,
breathing and circulation, which were identified during the Drs ABC cycle.
Although some additional problems will be obvious at first glance, the secondary survey will involve questioning and occasionally physical examination of the casualty.
Give specific emergency care for specific illnesses or injuries identified during a secondary survey (or earlier).
As a general rule the order of priority for specific treatments is:
1. Conditions that are affecting the DrsABC
2. Conditions that could affect the DrsABC
4. Wounds and Fractures
An abrasion is a graze of the skin. Clean the area thoroughly with non fluffy cloth (gauze is best) and water. Remove any gritty particles and dab with antiseptic solution. Apply a dressing and bandage or Band Aid, so that air can get to the skin and aid the healing process, yet keep it clean and dry.
If a body part has been amputated always call for help. Manage bleeding using pressure and elevation.
Care for the amputated body part by:
Do not wash or clean the part
Place inside two sealed plastic bags
Label the bag with the name, date and time of the accident
Wrap the bag in a towel, then place in ice.
Angina is the pain felt when there is temporarily insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle to meet the heart’s needs.
Angina is characterised by:
Pain in the chest, neck jaw or arms, brought on by effort or excitement
Symptoms usually last for less than 10 minutes
Sweaty, pale skin
Short of breath
Most people who have a history of angina carry angina spray with the (a red and white bottle), which is sprayed under the tongue. Disprin can also be placed under the tongue to dissolve. Rest the person and loosen any tight clothing. If it doesn’t ease within 10 minutes, call for help.
A bruise is bleeding into the tissues. Specific treatment is not necessary unless there is severe bruising around a joint. A cold compress firmly bandaged into place will usually ease pain. Massaging oil is not recommended.
Burns are generally caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, cold or friction. In serious burns, there may be no pain because the nerve endings have been damaged.
To decide how serious a burn is, look at:
Size – larger than the palm of the hand
Location (hands, feet and genital areas are of greatest concern)
Age of casualty (particularly under 5 and elderly)
Cool – the burned area for 20 minutes
Clear – the area of anything that may keep burning (jewellery, contaminated clothing) etc
Cover – the area with a dry, non-fluffy dressing
This is complete or partial unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head. It should always be treated very seriously, whether or not there is a visible injury.
There may be memory loss, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headache or blurred vision. If the casualty is unconscious, maintain an open airway, keep them still as much as possible until help arrives. Give nothing via the mouth. If they start to vomit, roll into the recovery position.
It is important that a swimmer should not panic if they develop cramp in the leg while in the water. The swimmer should turn onto their back and propel them
selves to safety. Once out of the water, stretch the leg and pulling toes towards the head and massage vigorously. Apply heat if possible.
When a casualty has been trapped under a heavy object for a long period of time, toxic substances build up in the muscles and can be fatal if they are
released suddenly into the system.
If the person has been crushed for more than one hour they should NOT be released until medical help arrives to treat the toxins.
For a casualty who has been crushed and can safely be released within one hour, treat their injuries as able. Seek medical help.
If small, wash with water and dry gently. Apply an adhesive dressing or bandage.
If the cut is bleeding freely, apply firm pressure over the wound with a clean dressing.
A severe cut will bleed less freely if elevated and pressure applied. Seek medical assistance.
A dislocation occurs when bones which meet at a joint are moved from their normal position. Common joints include: shoulder, knee, elbow and fingers.
Usually there is severe pain, deformity and swelling. Support the area in its injured position, apply a cold pack to reduce swelling and call for medical help.
Do NOT try to relocate the joint.
Send someone for medical assistance immediately. Get the person out of the water, trying to keep the mouth clear. Lay them on the ground on their back and open the airway. Pinch the nose and give a breath. The chest should rise and fall. Keep giving them a breath every 5 seconds, (one every 4 seconds for a child), until the person breathes and maintains good colour.
Fainting is a brief loss of consciousness caused by a temporary decrease in the flow of blood to the brain. Lie the person down and raise their legs. Loosen any tight clothing and call for help if they remain unconscious for more than 5 minutes.
Push the barb right through, cut off the tip/eye and pull through.
Foreign Body in Eye
Use an eye bath or bowl and try to float the object (eg, grit) out. Or gently pull the upper lid over the lower lid and blink lots. If this doesn’t work, place a soft pad over the eye and seek medical help.
If a larger object is in there, do NOT pull it out. Reassure the person and seek help.
Foreign Body in Ear
Try pouring in warm water or olive oil, as this may float the object out. If not successful, do not poke at it, seek medical help.
A fracture is a break or crack in the bone. It may be identified by; pain at the site, swelling, deformity, inability to use the area or blood loss (internal or external).
Treat the bleeding with pressure, cover the bone if exposed, immobilise the injured area, treat for shock and call for medical assistance.
Occurs due to excessive loss of body fluid and body salts. It is often seen as;
pale sweaty skin, headache, dizziness, feeling sick, muscle cramps, body temperature normal (or near normal).
Rest in a cool place, lying down, remove excess clothing, sip at cool water.
Occurs when the core temperature-regulating centre in the brain overheats and fails. It is often seen as; headaches, hot, flushed, dry skin, decreased level of consciousness, body temperature above normal.
Call for help, rest in a cool place and wrap in wet sheets, keep cooling.
The heart is like every other muscle in the body and needs a good blood supply to provide it with oxygen. A heart attack occurs when there is a reduced blood supply to a part of the heart muscle, damaging that area.
Symptoms include; heavy pressure, tightness, crushing pain in the chest, pain may spread to the shoulders, neck, jaw, arms, or back, sweaty pale skin, feeling faint, short of breath. (Symptoms usually last more than 15 minutes).
Rest the person quietly in a comfortable position, call for medical help, monitors ABC’s. Give one Disprin under the tongue.
Hypothermia occurs if the core body temperature falls below 35 degrees Celsius.
It most often occurs in the outdoors, where wet, cold and wind combine to create a cooling effect.
Early signs are; feeling cold and shivering, tiredness, slurred speech, loss of coordination, stumbling, clumsiness, changes in behaviour – anxiety, irritability, irrationality. Later signs include; shivering stopping and unconsciousness.
To manage this, the focus is on preventing further heat loss and gently rewarming of the core temperature. For example; seek shelter, remove wet clothing and replace with dry, woollen hat, give warm sweet drinks (not alcohol), place in a sleeping bag with a companion.
Get the person to sit down, leaning forwards. Tell them to breathe through their mouth and pinch the soft part of their nose.
Maintain pressure for at least 10 minutes. An ice pack may be used. If the bleeding continues for more than 30 minutes, seek medical assistance.
Poisons can enter the body through skin, lungs or mouth. Look for; vomiting, burned ;lips and mouth, skin rash or swelling, breathing difficulties, seizures, or altered level of consciousness.
Find out; What, When and How much.
Drink 1 – 2 cups of water. Do NOT induce vomiting and seek medical help.
Poisons Centre Ph: 0800 764 766
Medication and bracelets are available from pharmacies for sea sickness.
Keeping the person occupied, away from the fumes and looking out at the horizon, often works. If nausea develops, lying down is better than sitting upright.
Seizures occur as a result of a sudden and brief electrical discharge taking place in the brain. The person may; loose consciousness, body stiffens briefly, muscles contract and relax involuntarily. Bladder and bowel control may be lost during this event.
Call for medical assistance if; it is their first time, they hurt themselves, are pregnant, lasts longer than 5 minutes, don’t regain consciousness, seizure stops and starts intermittently or involves water.
Keep them safe, do NOT try to put anything in their mouth, place in the recovery position afterwards. They will be extremely tired after a seizure.
If the end is protruding sufficiently, draw the splinter out gently with tweezers and cover with a dressing. If it cannot be grasped, bathe in hot water and apply gentle pressure behind the splinter to see if you can ease it out. If this is not possible, cover with a dressing and repeat with bathes and pressure at intervals until you are successful.
Muscles, ligaments, tendons and skin are able to be stretched and can also tear if over stretched.
Pain, swelling, bruising and decreased mobility are usually noticed.
Stop the activity, rest the area, ice pack for 20 minutes, firmly apply a pressure bandage and elevate the limb.
If it does not improve in 48 hours, seek medical assistance.
If the sting is left behind, scrape it out with the back of a knife. Mix Baking Soda and a little water, to make a paste and apply. A sting in the mouth must be treated seriously. Sucking ice may help to reduce the swelling until medical help arrives.
Eat only small quantities of very plain food for a day or two. For instance; grated apple, water crackers and lots of water.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is impaired by a blood clot or a burst blood vessel.
Some of these symptoms may be present; sudden severe headache, signs of weakness or paralysis, confusion, inability to speak or inappropriate words chosen, or loss of consciousness.
Call for medical help immediately, place in recovery position, reassure the person.
Rest in a cool room, drink plenty of water and medical help should be sought if burns are severe.
Basic First Aid Kit Contents
Bandages ……………………………………….….. x 2 – 3
Sterile dressings ………………………….…..…… sml, med, lge
Adhesive tape ……………………………….…….. x 1
Safety Pins ……………………………….…….….. x 5
Wound Dressing ……………………….…….……. x 2
Band Aids …………………………………….……. x 10
Scissors ……………………………………………… x 1
Splinter forceps …………………………….……… x 1
Triangular bandage ………………………………. x 2 – 3
Saline solution …………………………………….. 30 mls
Plastic bags ………………………………………… x 3
Foil survival blanket ……………………………….. x 1
Disposable gloves …………………………………. 2 pairs
Pencil ……………………………………………….. x 1
Notebook ……………………………………..……… x 1
Resuscitation face shield …………………………. x 1
Thermometer ………………………………….……. x 1
Information compiled by:
Quality First AiD
021 281 1713