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First aid training

First aid training
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First aid basics

3-minute read

IMPORTANT: If you’re reading this because there is an emergency, then stop and call triple zero (000). The people you speak to can guide you to provide first aid.

What is first aid?

Accidents or illness can happen to anyone at any time, whether at home, at work or at school.

First aid covers the steps taken to help an injured or sick person in the first minutes after the event.

Often this first aid can help someone feel better, recover more quickly, and can even save lives.

First aid can be useful in many different situations, from sprains to electric shocks to heart attacks.

Why learn first aid?

If you learn the basics of first aid, you might one day save the life of a loved one, colleague or stranger.

First aid might involve a simple action, such as placing a person in the correct position to breathe freely. It might involve a more skilled activity, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if they have stopped breathing.

The DRSABCD action plan

If you have completed a first aid course, you will be familiar with the DRSABCD action plan.

Each letter is a prompt for the actions to take when first aid is needed.

Step Letter Representing What to do
1 D Danger Ensure that the patient and all people in the area are safe
2 R Response Look for a response from the patient - ask their name, squeeze their shoulder
3 S Send for help If there is no response, phone 000 or ask another person to call
4 A Airway Open mouth - if foreign material is present, place in the recovery position and clear airway with fingers. Open airway by tilting head with chin lift
5 B Breathing Check for breathing: look, listen, feel
6 C CPR If not normal breathing, start CPR, 30 chest compressions:2 breaths. Continue CPR until help arrives or patient recovers
7 D Defibrillation If there is no heartbeat, turn on a defibrillator if available and follow the verbal prompts

The DRSABCD action plan is a useful tool in first aid. But you will manage it even better if you have training in how to perform each action the right way.

Where to learn first aid

If you want to learn first aid, there are plenty of courses available. Some run for a couple of hours and others for a couple of days.

St John Ambulance Australia, the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia and the Red Cross are among the organisations that offer courses and certificates in first aid, including CPR.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: May 2018

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