These first aid hints are meant as a general guide only. It is recommended that you complete a first aid course or at least learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Queensland Ambulance Service offers a variety of classes at various locations throughout Queensland. Completing a first aid course means that you not only learn the skills and techniques, but it also gives you a chance to practice them.
What is first aid?
First aid is the initial care for a person in distress. In extreme cases, it could mean the difference between life and death.
The aim of first aid is to:
- preserve life
- protect the unconscious
- prevent a casualty’s condition from becoming worse
- promote the recovery of a casualty.
Phoning for help
The third step in the emergency action plan is phoning for help. In any emergency situation involving sudden illness or injury, it is essential that emergency service organisations be contacted as soon as possible. Call triple zero (000) immediately to activate the emergency services.
When a call is made to Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) for ambulance assistance, a trained QAS Emergency Medical Dispatcher will ask the caller a number of questions. The questions are likely to include the following:
- What is the exact location of the incident/accident?
- What is the phone number from which you are calling?
- What has happened?
- How many people are sick/hurt?
- What is the nature of the casualty’s injuries?
- Are you with the casualty now?
- How old is the casualty?
- Is the casualty conscious?
- Is the casualty breathing?
Remain calm while answering these questions and ensure that your responses are clear and concise. The QAS Emergency Medical Dispatcher will provide you with first aid instructions and dispatch the paramedics. Do not end the call until you are told to do so by the QAS Emergency Medical Dispatcher.
For any severe bleeding - identify and immediately control any severe bleeding. This simply requires the casualty to be scanned from head to toe to detect signs of external bleeding. Bleeding is considered severe when it is spurting or cannot be controlled. Such severe bleeding is a life-threatening condition that must be addressed as quickly as possible.
Once a casualty has been assessed and managed for any conditions that immediately threaten their life, a first aid provider can begin a secondary survey.
The process of a secondary survey involves three steps:
- questioning the casualty and witnesses to the incident
- continuing to check the casualty’s vital signs
- conducting a head-to-toe examination.
First aid kits
One way of being better prepared for responding to accidents and emergency situations is to keep an appropriate first aid kit on hand. First aid can be performed using whatever equipment is available, but using proper, sterile supplies is recommended wherever possible. A first aid kit should be airtight and contain a variety of dressings and bandages depending upon the environment in which they are to be used.
QAS recommends the following items for a first aid kit in the home:
- 1 packet of plastic strips
- 1 roll of non-allergenic tape
- 2 sterile eye pads
- 4 triangular bandages
- 1 conforming gauze bandage (10 cm)
- 1 conforming gauze bandage (7.5 cm)
- 1 conforming gauze bandage (5 cm)
- 1 hospital crepe bandage (10 cm)
- 1 sterile combine dressing (9 x 10 cm)
- 1 sterile combine dressing (20 x 20 cm)
- 1 medium wound dressing (#14)
- 2 non-adhesive dressings (5 x 7.5 cm)
- 1 non-adhesive dressing (10 x 7.5 cm)
- 1 pair stainless steel scissors (sharp/blunt)
- 2 square gauze swabs
- 1 pair forceps
- 1 pack (10) latex gloves
- 1 resuscitation mask
- 2 bottles eye irrigation (15 mL)
- 1 bottle antiseptic cream (50 g)
- 1 wound closure steri-strip
- 1 stainless steel splinter remover
- 1 bottle antiseptic solution (30 mL)
- 5 alcohol swabs
- 1 first aid hints booklet.
Last updated 21 March 2012