Finding yourself in a situation where someone requires emergency first aid may seem like an unlikely scenario. But if you do, your actions can mean the difference between life and death. However, even if you don’t personally have first aid training, help is often close at hand.
Most importantly, in a first aid emergency time is of the essence. Vital seconds can be wasted wondering whether or not you should be doing something. If in doubt, the best thing you can do is call 000. The person who answers the phone has the skills to determine the best course of action. Likewise, do not attempt to drive the person to the hospital yourself. The quickest and safest way to get someone to the hospital is in an ambulance.
But even if you do have emergency first aid training, ensure someone around you still calls 000. According to Ambulance Victoria, you need to be ready to answer the following questions;
- The emergency’s exact location
- The phone number you are calling from
- What happened
- How many people are hurt
- How old they are
- Are they conscious
- Are they breathing
However, if you do not have the training it is often possible to identify someone who does. Public events often have identifiable first aid volunteers and tents provided by St John’s Ambulance. You have probably seen them before with their white crosses on green flags, or volunteers are often walking around in green uniforms. St John volunteers are excellently trained in all emergency scenarios.
Other public officials may also be able to help. These include police officers, security guards or event marshals. These people usually have first aid training and if they don’t they will usually have a direct line to someone who does. Of course, even if there are no official-looking people around just asking could be useful. Many ordinary citizens have first aid training and may have the skills required to help.
But as usual, prevention is better than cure. So having first aid training is the most valuable thing you can have. The medical emergency you witness may be a stranger sitting next to you on a train, but it may also be in your home with a loved one. First aid training gives you the skills to aid someone until an ambulance arrives and potentially save their life. Simply googling ‘first aid training in your state or city will bring up a number of options to choose from.
There are also a number of first aid resources that you can have on hand. Both St John’s Ambulance and Australian Red Cross have useful and free first aid apps. These are intended to accompany first aid training and of course, don’t use them as a replacement for calling 000. St John Ambulance also has useful workplace downloads. They cover what to do in scenarios ranging from asthma attacks to strokes.
First aid can be the difference between life and death and getting help is of paramount importance. This firstly comes from 000. But if possible, locating someone who has first aid training can also help. The key is not to waste any time, the sooner the patient receives assistance the more likely they are to survive.