Learn how to save a life for World First Aid Day

Any place, any time: A mnemonic device like DRSABCD is handy as it helps people recall the steps to follow in an emergency, which can be a very stressful situation.
Any place, any time: A mnemonic device like DRSABCD is handy as it helps people recall the steps to follow in an emergency, which can be a very stressful situation.

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The second Saturday in September is World First Aid Day, an important day to acknowledge the role of first aid awareness, training and practical application in making a real difference to people’s lives.

A common misconception is ‘it won’t happen to me’.

The truth is that thousands of Australians get injured and hospitalised every year due to unforeseen events.

Despite nine in 10 Australians having witnessed at least one incident requiring medical attention, such as heart attack or anaphylaxis, St John research indicates 22 per cent of Australians are not confident to provide first aid.

This is due to the fact that 43 per cent of Australians have never completed any type of first aid training, an alarmingly high figure.

St John training manager Anthony Hasphall said anyone can and should know how to use first aid.

“Every single day lives are saved and injury and illness is reduced through the efforts of ordinary individuals who have taken the time to become trained,” he said.

“First aid is a life skill that you cannot predict when you will need, so being prepared for any situation means people will have the confidence and skills to calmly and effectively provide relief to those in need.”

By increasing the number of trained first aiders across Australia, the number of preventable deaths in homes, workplaces and public spaces is likely to decline.

You cannot put a price on a life saved, a fact that makes first aid training a small investment every Australian should make.

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Here’s a few simple steps you can take to help save lives:

  • Complete a first aid course to gain knowledge, skills and confidence to act in an emergency
  • Refresh your CPR skills each year – regular practice will ensure you are confident to take action immediately and don’t need to stop and think
  • Have a fully-stocked first aid kit that is appropriate to your needs

There are many certified training providers across the country who run first aid courses and workshops on a regular basis.

Had training? St John Ambulance recommends re-training in first aid every three years, and every 12 months in CPR.

“Research shows  skills and ability to perform CPR declines steadily over 12 months, to the point that after 12 months the technique would not be sufficient to perform CPR effectively in real life,” Anthony said.

“When it comes to general first aid, which includes techniques such as bandaging, choking, asthma and anaphylaxis, refreshers every three years are required to remain compliant.”

Taking immediate action and applying the appropriate techniques, while waiting for professional help, can considerably reduce deaths and injuries, and the impact of disasters and everyday emergencies.

First aid training provides more than the knowledge and skills to effectively respond – it also provides the confidence to act when needed.

While first aid is something most people are capable of performing, it often takes a degree of confidence for someone to step forward at the critical moment when others around them may be panicking.

For World First Aid Day on September 8 St John will be launching the inaugural First Aid Champion Awards to recognise those in the community who have performed first aid to assist someone in need.

“It may be a young person, an individual in the workplace, the wider community or at a school – we are looking to recognise a wide variety of people.”

“By sharing the winners’ stories we aim to encourage others to recognise the value of first aid training.”

Nominations for First Aid Champions are open to anyone in the community at st johnvic.com.au/champions