CPR Discrepancy: Myths vs. Reality.

image contains the title of the blog "CPR on Women - Closing the Gap" Next to the title, illustrates a woman doing CPR to another woman with the logo of LIfe Saving First Aid


I want to talk about the CPR discrepancy and closing the gap, one rescue at a time.

Do you know that females in cardiac arrest are less likely to receive out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary compressions (CPR) than males? That is simply because the provision of bystander CPR is less likely to be performed on a female by a member of the public.  This is the CPR discrepancy.

Cardiac arrest:

A cardiac arrest is a life-threatening emergency situation where these casualties require immediate chest compressions to imitate the pumping of the heart, which promotes blood and oxygen delivery to the brain and other vital organs.

Despite the severity and complexity surrounding a cardiac arrest, the initial life-saving treatment simply involves using two hands to administer chest compressions in the centre of the chest, hard and fast. 

However, despite the simplicity of performing CPR, recent literature states that only 39% of women received CPR from bystanders in public compared to 45% of males. (American Heart Association) 

CPR on Women:

So, let’s unpack why the provision of CPR is less likely for Women and why the CPR discrepancy exists: 

Gaining an insight into understanding the public perceptions of why the provision of CPR is less likely in women is an essential measure towards promoting the equitable implementation of CPR. 

Bystanders are less likely to perform CPR on women due to concerns about inappropriate touching, potential accusations of sexual assault, or fear of causing injury.

Although these concerns for privacy and cultural sensitivity are valid, exposing the casualties’ chest must be done to initiate life-saving medical treatment. Using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) for example.

Exposing their chest includes removing all upper body clothing, which also includes removing or cutting their bras. This is optimal as it will allow for correct hand placement for compressions and for the AED electrode pads to be properly placed in the correct position. Further, as many bras include metal components, removing them reduces the risk of burns or electrical arcing during defibrillation. 

Remember, exposing the female’s chest is necessary for optimal medical care. In the case of a woman with larger breasts, it might be required to lift the left breast with the back of your hand for accurate positioning of the AED pad. When a bra is removed and a female is lying on their back, it’s likely the breasts will fall to the side and thus allow for correct hand placement in the centre of their chest without the requirement to touch them. This is the correct location to effectively deliver compressions. 

Preserving privacy:

Preserving the privacy of female patients can be achieved by continuing to treat them with dignity and respect at all times. It is important to ensure only those assisting with resuscitation are within sight of their exposed chest and for all other bystanders to maintain at a distance. In addition, capturing photos or videos of the casualty is inappropriate and unnecessary. Additionally, if there is a cloth or towel available, it can be used to cover the chest and preserve modesty, whilst compressions are provided.

CPR on pregnant women:

It is often misperceived that pregnant women who experience a cardiac arrest should not receive resuscitation with CPR and defibrillation. However, the standard protocol for resuscitation remains unchanged and it’s expected that they receive the same quality CPR and AED shocks as anyone else. Therefore, observing the same three life-saving procedures; calling 000, starting CPR, and utilising an AED as soon as possible is vital to attempt resuscitation.

Both compressions and defibrillation should not pose any significant risk to the mother or baby. However, there are some alterations we can practice to further mitigate any risks.

Whilst they are lying flat, place a padding such as a cushion or towel under their right hip to tilt their left side about 15°-30° while leaving their shoulders flat to the ground. This will facilitate blood flow for the pregnant woman and baby.

Finally, as for all patients, if CPR is successful, placing them in the recovery position whilst you wait for the ambulance to arrive is ideal. However, the left side is preferred as it prevents the baby from compressing one of the major blood vessels in the abdomen.


Remember, if you attempt to resuscitate and save the life of a female casualty with genuine and well-intentioned efforts, you will always be protected under the Good Samaritan Legislation.

I hope this blog encourages strong public education and eliminates the biases surrounding bystander CPR on female casualties so we can make a difference together and save lives, regardless of gender, one rescue at a time.

Thanks for tuning in, see you in the next blog! – Dounia

PS: Click here for more First Aid info

How is antivenom made?

Image depicts a stylised illustration of a horse preparing to be injected with snake venom, infront of it, there is a hand holding the syringe with the antivenom. Title of the blog "How Antivenom is made" followed by Life Saving First Aid logo


Australia is home to around 139 species of venomous snakes. This includes 109 land-based and 30 marine-based species. Not all of these are dangerously venomous. Approximately one-third of them are however so, you can see how important snake antivenom is.

How is snake antivenom made? It’s a pretty interesting story and process.

Snake Venom:

First, a bit about venom.

Snake venom is created in the modified salivary glands of the snake. It is a complex mixture of enzymes and proteins of various sizes, amines, lipids, nucleosides, and carbohydrates.

Snake venom affects the body in 4 different ways:

·        Neurotoxic – Damaging to the nervous system and the brain – interfering with the neurotransmitters sending signals to your muscles.

·        Hemotoxic – Thinning out the blood preventing clotting. Leading to fatal internal haemorrhage and cardiovascular collapse.

·        Cytotoxic – Attacking cells leading to oedema (fluid retention), severe blistering, apoptosis (cell death), and necrosis.

·        Myotoxic – destroying muscles and causing paralysis and cardiac arrest.

Some snake venom contains a mixture of all four types of toxins. Nasty Stuff.

how the snake venom affects the body:
nake venom affects the body in 4 different ways:  1. Neurotoxic - Damaging to the nervous system and the brain - interfering with the neurotransmitters sending signals to your muscles.  2. Hemotoxic – Thinning out the blood preventing clotting. Leading to fatal internal haemorrhage and cardiovascular collapse.  3. Cytotoxic – Attacking cells leading to oedema (fluid retention), severe blistering, apoptosis (cell death), and necrosis.  4. Myotoxic – destroying muscles and causing paralysis and cardiac arrest.


Australian venomous snakes all belong to the Elapid family of snakes and as such their fangs are hollow, short and located at the front of their jaw.

When the snake bites, venom is injected into the lymphatic system of the casualty. This happens because elapid snake fangs are short.

To enter the bloodstream and begin to affect the victim, the venom must be transported to areas such as the groin or armpits

The venom of the Elapidae family is primarily neurotoxic with some myotoxic effects.

If you are treating a snake bite in Australia use the Pressure Immobilisation Technique – PIT. Click HERE for details of this technique.

Australian venomous snakes all belong to the Elapid family of snakes and as such their fangs are hollow, short and located at the front of their jaw.  When the snake bites, venom is injected into the lymphatic system of the casualty.  This happens because elapid snake fangs are short.  To enter the bloodstream and begin to affect the victim, the venom must be transported to areas such as the groin or armpits

Antivenom – A Brief History:

Albert Calmette, a French physician produced an antivenom for cobra venom in 1895 which was to revolutionise the treatment of snakebite worldwide.

In 1898 here in Australia, Frank Tidswell undertook pioneering experiments in active immunisation using tiger snake venom. Then in 1901, he produced Australia’s first experimental antivenom.

Around 1900 Charles Martin (Universities of Sydney and Melbourne) made several important advances relating to venoms. Including:

·        Proving that Calmette’s anti-venom did not work for every snake.

·        Conducting the first investigations into the chemistry of Australian venoms.

·        Observing the action of venom on the body and its systems.

·      Proposing that intravenous injection could be used to administer antivenom

·        Concluding that the dose of venom injected influences the volume of antivenom used in treatment.

In 1928, research was led by Frank Morgan from Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL )and Neil Fairley and Charles Kellaway from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) into antivenom for Tiger snake and by October 1930 the first tiger snake antivenom was available commercially.

“While CSL had produced experimental antivenoms for many species it wasn’t until July 1955 that Australia’s second commercial snake antivenom for the taipan was released. This was followed by antivenoms for the brown snake (1956), redback spider (1956), death adder (1958), black snake (1959), stonefish (1959) and sea snake (1961). In 1962 a polyvalent snake antivenom was released to treat victims where the snake was unknown.

In 1970, an antivenom for the box jellyfish was used successfully. One for the funnel web spider followed in 1981. Today CSL continues as the only producer of human antivenoms in Australia”.(Source: Venoms & Antivenoms at Museum Victoria)

As you can see, Australia played an important role in antivenom research.

Hmm. That’s great…But get to the point! How we make snake antivenom?

berief history of antivenom
antivenom advances made by charles martin

Antivenom production:

Antivenom works by stimulating the production of antibodies. The immune system produces antibodies to neutralise dangerous antigens like viruses and bacteria. Antigens can also be effective in neutralising venom.

Antivenom does not destroy the venom’s toxins or reverse the venom’s effects on the body. However, the antibodies the antivenom creates can suppress the venom’s toxins preventing their spread and making them harmless.

To make antivenom you need venom. Lots of it. The Australian Reptile Park, located in the central coast region of NSW has been the sole supplier of terrestrial snake venom for the purpose of making antivenom.

At the Australian Reptile Park, snake handlers milk 250 venomous snakes every fortnight. The Collected venom is freeze dried and the crystals are packaged and sent to be made into antivenom.

Australia uses horses for the production of all snake antivenom. Over a period of six months, the horses are injected with increasing doses of venom. During this time, they build up antibodies to the snake venom.

Blood is taken from the horses and the antibodies in the blood are extracted. These are purified and reduced to a usable form ie Antivenom.

( Oh, and by the way..the horses have a great life and suffer no inconvenience from this process. )

Then the antivenom is distributed (read SOLD..) to whoever needs it.

antivenom production

Which Antivenom for which snake?:

Identification of the snake will assist with the choice of the right antivenom for that snake. It will also indicate to the doctor the particular features and characteristics of envenomation by that type of snake.

Identification of snakes by the casualty, general public or by hospital staff is often inaccurate.

Sometimes, the snake is not even seen or is only glimpsed getting away. In these cases, a snakebite venom detection kit may be used.

Australia is the only country in the world that has snake venom detection kits.

The kits consist of a fast-acting two-step enzyme immune test in which wells are coated with antibodies to the various snake venoms.

The doctor will take a swab from the bite site and use the antibodies to determine the type of snake antivenom to be used.

which antivenom for which snake

Other Anti-Venoms:

As you are aware, Australia is home to lots of other venomous creatures. Fortunately, we have anti-venom most of the dangerous ones.

  • Funnel-web spider – produced in Rabbits
  • Redback Spider – produced in Horses
  • Aust. paralysis Tick – produced in Dogs
  • Box Jellyfish – produced in Sheep
  • Stonefish – produced in Horses


Thanks to the early research, Australia is in a fortunate position. We have good antivenom. Combined with good ambulance service and a good hospital system they all work together to reduce the impact of venomous bites on our community.

You should, of course, carry a snake bite kit with you…Just in case.

Last word from WC Fields:

“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”

Well, that’s that. Until next time…Stay safe.

Triage for multiple casualties

Image of someone being injured in a fire being tended by a first aider giving yellow tag triage with the title"Triage for multiple casualties" followed by Life Saving First Aid logo


When faced with multiple casualties the process you should follow is called Triage.

Safety First for Triage

Even if you are faced with a multiple casualty triage situation, your starting point is always DRSABCD and first on the list is Danger.

Conduct a rapid risk assessment for your safety and the safety of those around you. Check for hazards – Physical, Chemical, Biological, Electrical, Mechanical and Psychological and try to minimise the risks.

Body fluids from the casualty present a biological hazard. The risk, you could become infected. Minimise the risk by wearing PPE – Gloves, eyewear, mask etc. Or, if traffic is the hazard, being hit by a car is the risk. Therefore, move to a safer location, put up warning signs or have someone direct and control the traffic to minimise this risk.

Your hazard and risk assessment may even lead you to the conclusion that for your own safety you need to leave the area and contact a specialist emergency service to make the area safe before you can help the casualty.

Your safety is the priority.

What is Triage?

If there are multiple casualties, CALL 000, then you will need to undertake basic triage. Check out this link for more info on 000 calls: https://www.triplezero.gov.au/Documents/TripleZeroFactSheet.pdf

There are also some apps available which can assist. You can find them here: https://lifesavingfirstaid.com.au/blog/todays-first-aid-apps-and-gadgets/

Basic triage is the sorting of multiple casualties by the severity of their injury or illness – from those in most need of assistance to those who require little or no assistance using these categories:

Red Tag

 Immediate – use a red tag

Casualties that belong to this category have life-threatening but treatable injuries. Anyone assigned with a red tag requires immediate medical attention. They are also the first to be transported to the hospital when medical help arrives.

Yellow Tag

Urgent – use a yellow tag

These are casualties who sustain serious injuries but can wait for a short time before receiving treatment.

Green Tag

 Delayed – use a green tag

Green tag casualties can wait hours to days before treatment. These ‘minor casualties’ are usually separated from the more serious injury by asking them to move to a specific area OR you can ask them to give you some assistance if they are able.

Black Tag

 Deceased – use a black tag

The final group in which they categorize as the deceased group or white group. Unfortunately, these are casualties you cannot help, and they cannot be resuscitated.

Conducting Triage

While conducting triage it is important that you only commit to treating someone with catastrophic bleeding. For example a severed limb. Try and stop the bleeding then move on.


If a casualty is unconscious but breathing, place them in the recovery position and move on.

As a rule of thumb, you can follow this action plan when conducting triage:

1.      Stop catastrophic bleeding. Or Place in recovery position if appropriate

2.      Are they Walking? YES, then GREEN TAG DELAYED. You can get them to assist you if they are able. Are they walking NO – check their breathing

3.      Are they breathing? NO then BLACK/WHITE TAG DECEASED

4.      Are they breathing, YES, is it normal? YES, then ORANGE/YELLOW TAG URGENT. NOT normal breathing RED TAG IMMEDIATE.

Remember that triage is an ongoing process so when you have categorised the injured you need to start again. Some of the Urgent may become Immediate, Immediate to the Deceased and even some in the Delayed may need to be reclassified as well.

When you have completed the Triage process, you need to start again. Why? Because the condition of the casualties can change. Some Yellows may become Red, some Reds may become Blacks and so on. Continual reassessment contributes to effective Triage.

Handover to Ambulance

You have already called 000 so when the ambulance arrives you will need to conduct a handover/takeover with the ambulance officer or paramedic.

The details of the incident, as you understand them, the numbers involved, the actions you have taken so far, any relevant timings and the injuries of the casualties can now be relayed to the attending emergency services. Be as clear and concise as you can. State only the facts. There is no need to embellish or add your thoughts unless asked.

Taking control

Don’t panic! If you are first on the scene initially, or the only first aider, you will need to take control. You may need to delegate tasks to others. Locating an AED, CALLING 000 dealing with walking wounded and assisting with CPR. keeping notes etc.

You will need to lead and direct with confidence, making good decisions, acting quickly and in the best interest of your casualty or casualties. Remain calm and focused on the task at hand. You may have to adapt quickly as the situation changes and communicate effectively to others involved. Remember to keep within your own skill level.

Good judgement is essential in directing others such as bystanders, other first aiders, or other resources on the scene to assist as needed.

Main points

Lets’ recap the main points:

•            Make sure the area is safe and use PPE

•            Use DRSABCD

•            Triage the casualties if more than one

•            Conduct a secondary assessment

•            Be aware of post-incident stress and seek professional help

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.


Guide to First Aid for Bites and Stings.

Image of a person watering their flowers in the garden while bees, wasps and ants roam around the garden The title next to it says "Bee’s, Wasps, & Ant bites and stings" followed by Life Saving First Aid logo


Australia is crawling with insects of one kind or another. In this article, we will look at first aid for bites and stings from various insects and spiders.

Recognising the Signs, Symptoms and knowing first aid management of insect bites and stings is important.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, over 3,500 Australians were hospitalised due to contact with a venomous animal or plants in 2017–18. More than a 26% of these hospitalisations were caused by bee stings, almost 19% were caused by spider bites with redbacks the most common spider involved.

In Australia deaths from venomous plants, animals or insects is rare. The National Coronial Information System records 19 deaths in 2017–18 due to contact with venomous animals – 7 with venomous snakes, 12 with bees and wasps.

Bees, Wasp and Ant bites and stings

Lets’ have a look at bee, wasp and ant stings. Single stings from a bee, wasp or ant, can be painful but rarely cause serious problems except for persons who have a severe allergy to the venom.

However, multiple insect stings can cause severe pain and widespread skin reaction. Multiple stings around the face can cause severe local swelling and difficulty breathing even if the person is not allergic to that insect.


Here in Australia, there are over 1,500 native bee species in a range of shapes and sizes. Bees are critical to the sustainability of our food supply. An astonishing one-third of Australian food is dependent on honey bee pollination.

Australian native bees can be either solitary or social bees. On the other hand, honey bees will live together in a nest or hive. Honey bees are generally stronger pollinators, but the smaller native bees can access smaller flowers and also play an important role in pollination. 

It is important to remember that bee stings leave behind the venom sac and sting which continues to inject venom into the skin, whilst a wasp or ant may sting multiple times without leaving a venom sac attached.

To remove the bee sting scrape sting out of the skin. Do no try to pull it out as you may squeeze more venom into the casualty.


Wasps in Australia include European Wasps, English wasps and paper wasps all of which can sting and inject venom. Unlike a bee, the wasp does not lose its sting and therefore can sting you many times.

Stings from wasps can be immediately extremely painful with some redness around the bite area.

There can also be airway obstruction from swelling of the face and tongue due to anaphylaxis, or from many stings in or around the mouth.

Bull Ants

Bull ants are large, alert ants that can grow up to 40 mm They have characteristic large eyes and long, slender mandibles and a potent venom-loaded sting.

There are about 90 species of bull ants in Australia. Jumper ants are some of the smaller species. They have a habit of aggressively jumping toward intruders.

Ants deliver painful stings by gripping the intruder with their mandibles (jaws), curling their abdomen to reveal the sting, and injecting the victim with venom. Often the ant can deliver multiple stings. 

Signs and Symptoms

Stings from bees, wasps and ants all show similar signs and symptoms

Minor reactions are usually immediate and intense local pain with some local redness and swelling.

On the other hand, more severe reactions can be airway obstruction from swelling of the face and tongue due to anaphylaxis, or from bee stings in or around the mouth. This may occur immediately or over several hours.


THE major immediate risk to the health of persons bitten or stung by insects is severe allergic reaction, Anaphylaxis.

Prevention, recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis should be the focus of First aid for bites and stings.

For all bites and stings, except in the case of tick bites, apply a cold compress to the sting area. You may be use an icepack to relieve the pain of the sting and help reduce swelling

CALL 000 if multiple stings to the face or tongue have occurred or there is evidence of a severe allergic reaction anaphylaxis.

For anaphylaxis use an Epipen or other adrenaline injector to administer adrenaline (epinephrine) via intramuscular injection preferably into lateral thigh which is the outside part of the upper leg.

Monitor the casualty for any signs of allergic or other reaction


Most tick bites cause few or no symptoms. Sometimes ticks may cause local skin irritation or a mild allergic reaction by injecting a toxin.

In susceptible people, a tick bite may cause a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.

It may also occur in people with no previous exposure or known susceptibility.

To prevent it from injecting more allergen-containing saliva, do not forcibly remove or touch the tick

This will prevent allergic reactions due to allergen-containing saliva injected by the tick.

The safest way to remove a tick is to Freeze the tick, using a product that rapidly freezes and kills the tick, and allows it to drop off.

Alternatively, leave it in place and seek medical assistance to remove the tick as soon as possible.

If you must remove the tick, use fine tweezers, and grasp the head of the tick as close to the persons skin as possible and lever the tick out by the head. Do not squeeze the tick.

Monitor the casualty for any signs of allergic or other reaction.


The main points for first aid for bites and stings are:

•            There are many insects in Australia that can bite and sting but generally they cause only minor problems

•            Be aware of possible severe allergic reactions and manage accordingly

•            Remove bee stings by scraping them out as soon as possible

•            Apply cold pack to insect bite site for pain management – except for ticks

•            Remove ticks, if possible, by freezing or tweezers applied to the tick’s head. Seek medical attention if you cannot remove the tick.

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

Emergency Response to Bleeding, Blood Loss, and Shock.

Bleeding, blood loss and shock followed by Life Saving First Aid logo

What is bleeding?

Bleeding is when blood discharges from the circulatory system. Blood loss can occur due to small cuts, abrasions, or deep cuts and amputations.

Injuries to the body can also result in internal bleeding, which can range from minor to massive bleeds. Bleeding and blood loss can result in haemorrhagic shock.

There are around 5 litres of blood in the average person. With too much blood loss, the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen to support life. People who experience major injury and trauma may rapidly lose blood.

A loss of only 1.5ltr can result in

  • a rapid heart rate higher than 120 beats per minute.
  • A drop in blood pressure.
  • Increased breathing rate.

You will die if you lose more than 2ltr or about 40 per cent of your blood. Check out this chart- “How much blood can you lose?

There are three main types of Bleeding. Minor, Severe and Internal. It is quite possible you could experience all three types on one casualty.  

Minor Bleeding

For example:

  • from a small surface cut or nosebleed.
  • Capillary bleeding occurs when the skin’s surface layer breaks due to abrasion or a graze. As a result, it will slowly ooze blood and may contain particles.
  • Venous bleeding (a minor wound) is a laceration, cut or slice into the skin bleeding freely. The application of pressure or a bandage will control the bleeding.
  • Minor pain, small cuts, weeping fluid

Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding:

  • a severe wound due to cut or laceration to an artery. Blood will spurt vigorously with every heartbeat. Requires immediate action as the casualty can lose a large amount of blood quickly.
  • As a result of an embedded object such as a knife, piece of wood or steel.
  • An amputation, that is, a completely severed body part.
  • Severe pain, cold clammy skin, rapid shallow breathing, or other signs of shock.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is bleeding inside the body. You should always suspect internal bleeding when symptoms of shock are present.

Signs and Symptoms include:

  • Coughing up blood, vomiting blood, bleeding from ears, anus, or blood in the urine.
  • Bruising, pain, tenderness and swelling at the site
  • Swollen, tight abdomen
  • unconsciousness


As with all our First Aid incidents we need to check for danger first to ensure it is safe for us to provide First Aid.

Carry out DRSABCD

Determine the type of bleeding so you can give the appropriate first aid.

Wash your hands and wear personal protective equipment if available.


Sit casualty upright and tilt their head forward, ask them to squeeze and apply dissect pressure over the soft part of the of the nostrils below the bridge of the nose.

Place a cold pack on the back of their neck.

Hold for at least 10 minutes and if bleeding does not stop within 20 minutes seek medical help.

Minor BleedingManagement

Using pressure on or around the wound is usually the fastest, easiest, and most effective way to stop external bleeding.

The aim is to stop further bleeding while waiting for help to arrive. There is no evidence that elevating a bleeding part will help control bleeding and there is the potential to cause more pain or injury.

If the wound is a graze there may be particles present in the wound. You should remove loose particles with tweezers or by flushing the wound with clean water or sterile saline solution. Do not rub or scrub the wound. If particles are still in the wound apply a bandage which is not too tight and call for medical help.

For a minor or small cut apply firm pressure to the wound using your hand, the casualties’ hand, or a bandage to stop the bleeding. The preferred dressing would be sterile, non-stick, and non-allergenic, . However, use what you have.

Monitor the casualty and seek medical help if needed.

Severe bleedingManagement

If the bleeding is severe or life-threatening, controlling it should take priority over airway and breathing interventions.

You should lie the casualty down, apply pressure on the wound, and send for an ambulance.

Wash your hands and wear PPE if available.

  • Do not remove any embedded object as it may be stopping some bleeding but Bandage around embedded objects to apply indirect pressure to the wound.
  • If there is blood spurting from wound, apply firm direct pressure to the wound with hand or dressing.
  • Apply dressing firmly to the wound, preferably sterile and non-stick
  • In cases where the wound still bleeds through the pad and bandage, remove the bandage, keep the first pad, apply a second pad and rebandage.

If the wound still bleeds through the bandage, remove all bandages and pads, reassess the wound if a bleeding point has been missed, then apply a fresh set of pads and bandages.

If you find the following or similar:

  • An amputated or partially amputated limb above wrist or ankle
  • A victim of a shark attack, propeller cuts or similar major trauma to any part of the body
  • Or bleeding not controlled by local pressure

Call 000 immediately and you should consider the use of a tourniquet. 


If you cannot control the bleeding by direct pressure or it is life-threatening bleeding from a limb, use an arterial tourniquet.

Do not be apply a tourniquet over a joint or wound.

The following guidelines apply if you need to use a tourniquet:

  • When applying all arterial tourniquets, follow the manufacturer’s instructions (or 5 cm above the wound if no instructions) and tighten until the bleeding stops.
  • If the bleeding does not stop, check the position and application of the tourniquet. If possible, you should not apply the tourniquet over clothing or wetsuits. Apply the tourniquet tightly, even if it causes local discomfort
  • If bleeding continues, a second tourniquet (if available) should be applied to the limb, preferably above the first.
  • Note the time of the tourniquet application, and communicate to emergency/paramedic personnel. the victim will require urgent transfer to the hospital. Until the victim receives specialist care, the tourniquet should not be removed

You can improvise a tourniquet if there is no tourniquet available. Although an improvised tourniquet is unlikely to stop the bleeding and poses the risk of increased bleeding and tissue damage, an improvised tourniquet is better than none at all in life-threatening bleeding.

For example, using materials found in a first aid kit, clothing, or other similarly available items you can improvise a tourniquet. Tighten your Improvised tourniquet by twisting a rod or stick under the improvised tourniquet, similar to the windlass in commercial tourniquets.

You must ensure there is a record of the time your tourniquet was applied. Also, ensure you do not cover the tourniquet with clothing.

Haemostatic Dressing

Another method to help stop severe bleeding is the use of a Haemostatic Dressing.

Haemostatic dressings are filled with agents that help stop bleeding, such as kaolin and chitosan. While commonly used in surgical and military settings, their use in the civilian, non-surgical setting (such as first aid) is becoming more common.

Lie the person down and check for signs of shock and treat.

Internal Bleeding

This occurs when blood escapes from the arteries, veins, or capillaries into tissues or cavities in the body.

Remember, an injured person may be bleeding internally even if you can’t see any blood. An internal injury may cause bleeding that remains contained within the body; for example, within the skull or abdominal cavity.

It is important to ask the right questions to collect the relevant information. Listen carefully to what the person tells you about their injury. Watch for the signs and symptoms of shock. In the case of a head injury, the signs and symptoms of concussion.

The signs and symptoms of internal bleeding depend on where the bleeding is inside the body, but may include:

  • pain at the injured site
  • swollen, tight abdomen
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pale, clammy, sweaty skin
  • breathlessness
  • extreme thirst
  • unconsciousness.

For signs and symptoms specific to concussion (caused by trauma to the head) check out our blog – “Head Injuries”

Management of internal bleeding

First aid cannot realistically manage or treat any kind of internal bleeding. Therefore, seeking prompt medical help is vital.

Above all, severe internal bleeding is life-threatening and requires urgent treatment in hospital so CALL 000

Lie the person down, make them as comfortable as possible and check for signs of shock.

If there is bruising to a limb and no external bleeding, use pressure and a cold pack if available. Above all, make the casualty as comfortable as possible keeping them warm and monitoring their condition till the arrival of the ambulance.

Some things you can do are:

  • Check for danger before approaching the person.
  • If possible, send someone else to call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • Check that the person is conscious.
  • Lie the person down.
  • Cover them with a blanket or something to keep them warm.
  • If possible, raise the person’s legs above the level of their heart.
  • Don’t give the person anything to eat or drink.
  • Offer reassurance. Manage any other injuries, if possible.
  • If the person becomes unconscious, place them on their side. Check for breathing frequently. Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary.


  • There are three types of bleeding, Minor, Severe and Internal
  • Use PPE if available and apply DRSABCD
  • Call an Ambulance ASAP if needed
  • Apply direct pressure to stop bleeding and use sterile non-stick dressings if available
  • Do not remove embedded objects
  • Be aware of and look for signs of shock
  • Only use a tourniquet as a last resort
  •  For a nosebleed, tilt the head forward, and apply pressure to the bridge of the nose for 10 minutes. If not stopped within 20 min. Call an ambulance.

And always monitor and reassure the casualty.

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.


First Aid Policies, Procedures and Guidelines.

cover image with the title: First aid Policies, Procedures and Guidelines followed by Life Saving First Aid logo


In this article, we are going to look at some of the policies, procedures, guidelines, and legal aspects of First Aid.

Things like, Duty of Care, ARC Guidelines, consent and other relevant policies and regulations.

It is important to know about these because they offer you protection from legal action if, and when, you provide First Aid.

And that’s a good thing… Right?

What is First Aid?

First Aid is the initial care you can give to a person who is injured or has fallen ill until an ambulance or other help arrives. Therefore, knowledge of First Aid is important for everyday activities and of course in the workplace.

Some of you may become responsible for the provision of First Aid in your workplace. All of you may have to provide First Aid to someone in the community.

To be effective and safe when providing First Aid to someone, you should be aware of these policies and procedures.

ARC Guidelines

According to the ARC, "the ARC Guidelines shall be resource documents for individuals and organisations that teach and practise resuscitation..”  You can review the ARC Guidelines here - resus.org.au

First Aid training in Australia is aligned with the guidelines provided by the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC).

According to the ARC, “the ARC Guidelines shall be resource documents for individuals and organisations that teach and practise resuscitation…”

This provides a standard starting point for First Aid training providers and all the training material at Life Saving First Aid is based on the ARC Guidelines. You can review the ARC Guidelines here – resus.org.au

Duty Of Care

A Duty of Care when providing First Aid means to provide care to an injured or ill person appropriate to the level of your First Aid training, skills, and limitations. Acting in good faith, with reasonable care, using available equipment and resources according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  If you can, you should try to prevent further harm to the casualty by staying with them until the ambulance or medical personnel arrive or you need to leave to call for assistance.  By staying with them you can monitor their condition and respond to any changes in their condition or the environment.

As a First Aider or general member of the public, you are not legally required to help or aid another person.

However, If you do decide to provide First Aid to someone in the community then, as a First Aider, you have a Duty of Care.

A Duty of Care when providing First Aid means to provide care to an injured or ill person appropriate to the level of your First Aid training, skills, and limitations. This means acting in good faith, with reasonable care, and using available equipment and resources according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you can, you should try to prevent further harm to the casualty. Stay with them until the ambulance or medical personnel arrive.

By staying with them, you can monitor their condition and respond to any changes in their condition or the environment.

Conscious or unconscious, adult or child, you have a Duty of Care to show respectful behaviour towards the casualty regarding beliefs, culture and as a person. Also, to be kind and reassuring, providing comfort, dignity and, wherever possible, privacy.

You have a Duty of Care to yourself as well. It is important for your safety and the protection of your casualty, that you use Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) when you are providing First Aid. PPE is things like Gloves, Face Shields, Eye protection etc.

Speaking of protection, let’s have a look at the Good Samaritan Act/Law. 

The Good Samaritan Act 

The Good Samaritan Law applies whether you are a trained First Aider or not. What is important for you to remember as a First Aider is that you must provide care to an injured or ill person appropriate to the level of your First Aid training, skills and limitations. You should also act in their best interests.

Included in First Aid policies, procedures and Guidelines is the definition of a Good Samaritan.

 “A Good Samaritan is a person who decides to act in good faith by assisting a person who is injured or at risk of being injured and not expecting payment or a reward for their efforts.

“A person who is acting in good faith in providing assistance to someone in need is protected from any personal liability in an emergency situation” under the Good Samaritan laws.

Whether you are a trained First Aider or not, the Good Samaritan Law applies.

Remember, as a First Aider you must provide care to an injured or ill person appropriate to the level of your First Aid training, skills and limitations. You should also act in their best interests.

At the time of writing this, no First Aider in Australia has faced a lawsuit and lost for providing first aid within their level of training.

Workplace Codes of Practice

Codes of practice for First Aid provide practical guidance on how to achieve the standards of work health and safety required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulations (the WHS Regulations) and effective ways to identify and manage risks.  They can be found on the Safe Work Australia website and provide advice on How many First Aid kits your workplace requires

If you are a designated workplace First Aider, important policies, procedures and guidelines you need to know about are the Work Health and Safety Act Codes of Practice for First Aid and your duty of care.

Codes of practice for First Aid provide practical guidance on how to achieve the standards of work health and safety required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulations (the WHS Regulations) and effective ways to identify and manage risks. Read our article for more about risk assessment.

You will find the Codes of Practice on the Safe Work Australia website. They advise on how many First Aid kits your workplace requires, what the First Aid Kits should contain, First Aid training required, maintaining current certificates and so on.

For example, Appendix E of the Codes of Practice for First Aid is a list of the First Aid equipment you need to have in your workplace First Aid kit.

Next time you go to work, find your First Aid kit and check it out.

Familiarise yourself with its location and what it contains. Go to the Codes of Practice Appendix E. See if your First Aid Kit complies with the list of items that should be in it.

If it doesn’t, make a list of the missing items and get your manager or supervisor to organise replacements.

Included in this list, of course, are items of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

During the incident, you should wear PPE such as gloves, face shields, and safety glasses. Wash and sanitize your hands following the incident.

First Aid in the Workplace

As a workplace first aider, you have a Duty of Care to take the appropriate action and provide First Aid treatment to anyone who is ill or injured in your workplace, to the best of your ability. This includes employees and or visitors.

Your workplace should develop policies and procedures for first aid taking into account these legislations, regulations, and codes of practice. In the workplace, a first aider must know where these are located. They provide information for you regarding emergency plans, first aid and reporting incidents.

You will need to understand and adhere to the first aid policies, procedures and guidelines of your organisation.

After the incident, you will be required to complete a report of the incident and undertake a debrief.

Verbal  This simply means that the casualty verbally consents  Implied  Where a casualty may not be able to speak and conveys consent by body language or gestures.  Assumed  If your casualty is unresponsive, or unconscious then consent is assumed, and you can provide assistance  Consent from a minor  If the casualty is a minor, consent from a parent or guardian, if available, must be given.  Consent not given  If consent is not given and you want to provide some help, call 000,

Remember, it is a legal requirement that you obtain consent from an injured or ill person, regardless of their age, ability, health, or mental status, before you assist them with First Aid.

In line with the policies, consent can be VERBAL, IMPLIED, or ASSUMED.


This simply means that the casualty verbally consents. For example, if your casualty has a broken arm and they Reply “Yes” when you asked, “ Can I help you? I’m trained in First Aid”. There is your consent.


Where a casualty may not be able to speak and conveys consent by body language or gestures. For instance, if your casualty was choking and unable to speak, and they nodded or physically indicated “Yes” when you asked, “Can I help you? I’m trained in First Aid,” this would imply consent.

That’s consent


It’s pretty obvious that if someone is unconscious, we can’t ask for their consent before we assist them with first aid. Don’t panic the law has you covered. For first aid you can assume your unconscious casualty has given their consent.

Consent from a minor

The parent or guardian must give their consent if the casualty is a minor

For emergency treatment or assisting with a wound or illness, a mature minor could give consent.

If they cannot give consent and there is no parent present, the doctrine of necessity would justify treatment that is reasonably necessary and in the child’s best interests. 

You want to help someone. If they do not give consent. Call 000. Tell the operator what is happening and let them make a decision. They may send an Ambulance to assist.

First Aid Certificate currency

So you can renew your certificate before it expires, know the expiry date.

Your CPR Certificate will expire after 12 months, and your First Aid certificate after 3 years from the issue date. More info about Certificates here (How long does a First Aid certificate last? – Blog article)


So just to Recap:

  •  First Aid policies, procedures and guidelines include: The ARC guidelines relevant to the provision of first aid, first aid guidelines from Australian national peak clinical bodies and Worksafe Codes of Practice.
  •  To apply the First Aid code of practice, your duty of care and privacy policy and the protection of the Good  Samaritan Laws.
  • Remember to use PPE, including resuscitation barrier devices, to protect yourself, and get consent where possible.
  • And, don’t forget there may be a potential need for stress management techniques and support following an incident

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.


Todays First Aid Apps and Gadgets

image contains the title of the blog "Revolutionizing First Aid with Technology" followed by Life Saving First Aid logo

Introduction to first aid apps and gadgets

Isn’t it wonderful how much technology and todays First Aid Apps and Gadgets have enhanced first-aid response? With developments in intelligent devices and specialised first aid apps, emergency response has become considerably more effective and efficient.

Gone are the days of depending exclusively on a first aid kit and hoping for the best. The use of technology has had a significant influence on saving lives and also provided greater peace of mind in emergencies.

Let’s take a deeper look at how technology has changed the field of first aid response.

Todays First Aid Apps and Gadgets for watches

Let’s begin with smart watches. These little lifesavers are like having your own personal paramedic on your wrist. Heart rate monitoring and fall detection are two features that might warn you of potential health concerns.

They may even summon help or relay your position to first responders in an emergency.

Manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple, and Garmin have transformed the wristwatch into a gadget with capabilities to assist you in an emergency.

The Apple Series 6 wristwatch with first-aid app functions exemplifies exceptional technology. Its Fall Detection feature detects serious falls and automatically sends an emergency alert if the user is unresponsive, ensuring prompt delivery of first-aid during an accident.

In Australia, the Apple Watch app directs emergency notifications to the appropriate authorities such as ambulance, fire, or police depending on the situation. Through GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity, the watch transmits location information and an emergency alarm, enabling emergency workers to respond quickly.

Smartphone Apps and gadgets

Smartphones have advanced and, as a result, apps have been developed for first aid and emergencies. With a few clicks and swipes, you can access first-aid applications that can help you through any situation. These apps function as a virtual first aid responder in your phone, ready to help when you need it most.

They can help with anything from CPR instructions to symptom checklists. Not to mention the plethora of online videos and articles that offer valuable insights and recommendations. In a world where accidents are rampant, having access to this technology should make us all feel safer.

Below are some examples of helpful emergency apps.

some examples of helpful emergency apps. Emergency+ App - The Australian government created this app. It provides emergency contact information and GPS coordinates of their present position. enable emergency responders to locate them more quickly. Red Cross First Aid App - This app walks you through providing first aid and CPR. It also contains emergency contact information and a directory of hospitals and defibrillator sites based on location. In Case of Emergency (ICE) - Designed to store important personal and medical information so emergency services can access it.

Emergency+ App – The Australian government created this app. It provides emergency contact information and GPS coordinates of their present position. enable emergency responders to locate them more quickly.

Red Cross First Aid App – This app walks you through providing first aid and CPR. It also contains emergency contact information and a directory of hospitals and defibrillator sites based on location.

In Case of Emergency (ICE) – Designed to store important personal and medical information so emergency services can access it.

One of Todays First Aid Apps and Gadgets that deserves its own section is GoodSAM.


A free, global smartphone app that notifies a registered responder of a person in cardiac arrest in their vicinity.

GoodSAM is also linked to the Triple Zero (000) communications centre.

This is how GoodSAM works:

  1. A Triple Zero (000) call starts an alarm and notifies a registered GoodSAM Responder.
  2. The responder is informed of the patient’s position and location of the nearest accessible defibrillator (AED).
  3. The nearest available ambulance is dispatched to the patient. In some areas of Victoria, the fire service is also requested.
  4. The GoodSAM Responder can provide CPR and, if available, use a defibrillator until the arrival of emergency services.

This increases the patient’s chances of survival. It’s a great example of todays first aid apps and gadgets.

This is how GoodSAM works: A Triple Zero (000) call starts an alarm and notifies a registered GoodSAM Responder. The responder is informed of the patient's position and location of the nearest accessible defibrillator (AED). The nearest available ambulance is dispatched to the patient. In some areas of Victoria, the fire service is also requested. The GoodSAM Responder can provide CPR and, if available, use a defibrillator until the arrival of emergency services.

Another fantastic gadget is and AED – Automatic External Defibrillator.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in First Aid

Portable defibrillators became a reality in the 1960s, however, it would be years before such devices were made available to the general public. There were concerns about entrusting untrained people with equipment emitting hundreds of volts of electrical shock to the heart.

An AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, is helpful in emergencies. It can analyse the heart beat of the casualty.

If it detects an abnormal heart rhythm such as:

  • Fibrillation – where the heart is quivering and therefore not pumping any blood around the body
  • Tachycardia – where the heart is beating extremely fast and can lead to fibrillation

If the AED detects one of these it gives the heart a regulated electrical shock to restore its natural beat.

This gadget is simple to operate, even for persons with no medical background.

Place the pads on the chest, turn on the machine, and follow the voice prompts or on-screen instructions. The device will walk you through the procedure, making it simple and manageable.

Having an AED on hand can give peace of mind in emergencies by providing the possibility to save a life.

If you have never used an AED, you should become acquainted with them. It may come in handy. Look for our first-aid training in your area. Attend a training course for a simple lesson that could help you save a life.

The Importance of Oximeters in First Aid

First Aid Apps and Gadgets include Oximeters. In an emergency, these small devices can swiftly detect the oxygen saturation levels in a person’s blood. Critical information for first responders.

With only a fast clip onto a finger, an oximeter provides healthcare professionals with the knowledge to make decisions. Decisions that might mean the difference between life and death .

Consider the ability to detect harmful drops in oxygen levels before they become life-threatening. It’s like having a guardian angel in your pocket, constantly keeping an eye on you and your loved ones. And, as technology advances, oximeters become ever smaller and more user-friendly, making them available to anybody who requires them.


The use of technology in modern first aid has genuinely changed the discipline, significantly influencing emergency response and patient outcomes.

Smart devices and specialised emergency response applications have made it simpler to deliver the appropriate aid. This could be phoning for assistance or locating the nearest AED.

Medical practitioners are now better able to diagnose and treat patients in real-time. Thanks to the introduction of modern medical equipment, they can give them the correct treatment at the right moment.

This means that where access to medical treatment may be restricted, response times and survival rates have improved significantly. Isolated or rural locations for example.

Todays First Aid Apps and Gadgets that incorporate the latest technology in first aid have been game changers, providing patients with better, more effective care while saving many lives.

What will tomorrow bring?

Until next time this is trainer Nick. Be safe.

First Aid for Children: Essential Tips and Safety Tricks.

Image depicts text that says "First Aid for Children: Tips and Tricks" With an illustration of a child doing play first aid with a teddy bear in her room. Followed by a Life Saving First Aid Logo

First Aid for Children – Introduction

Knowing how to administer first aid to children can be a lifesaver for parents or carers. Accidents can happen at any time and place, and knowing how to react swiftly can make all the difference.

How many children die from injuries? According to the AIHW

“During 2015–2017, injuries contributed to 563 deaths of children aged 0–14—a rate of 4.1 per 100,000 children. The rate of injury deaths for boys (4.9 per 100,000) was 1.5 times as high as that for girls (3.2 per 100,000) (Figure 1).The youngest children (aged 0–4) had the highest rate of injury death (6.1 per 100,000 infants), compared with children aged 5–9 (2.1 per 100,000) and 10–14 (4.1 per 100,000).Injury deaths comprised a substantial proportion of all deaths among those aged 1–14 (33%)”

Approximately 10 deaths per week!

In this article we will go over some of the fundamentals of paediatric first aid. In addition, we will cover some common practices and helpful hints for parents and carers.

We encourage all parents to take first aid classes so that they will be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Common childhood emergencies

Some of the most common emergencies that can require first aid for children include:

1.      Choking: Children may choke on small objects or food, which can cause breathing difficulties and even lead to suffocation.

2.      Cuts and scrapes: Children are often active and can suffer cuts, scrapes, and bruises while playing or exploring.

3.      Burns: Children may accidentally touch hot surfaces or spill hot liquids, resulting in burns or scalds.

4.      Allergic reactions: Children can have allergic reactions to foods, insect bites or stings, or medications, which can cause hives, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis.

5.      Poisoning: Children can accidentally ingest harmful substances, such as medications, cleaning products, or chemicals.

6.      Fractures and sprains: Children may suffer fractures or sprains from falls or sports injuries.

7.      Seizures: Seizures can occur in children with epilepsy or other medical conditions and can be scary for the child and those around them.

8.      Nosebleeds: Nosebleeds can happen for various reasons, including dry air, allergies, or trauma to the nose.

It’s essential for parents and caregivers to be prepared for these emergencies and know how to administer first aid to children.

First aid courses

To effectively deal with potential harm or injury to children in Australia, it is recommended that parents or caregivers undertake a nationally accredited course. The most appropriate nationally accredited courses in Australia are.

·        HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR Only).

·        HLTAID011 Provide First Aid.

·        HLTAID012 Provide First Aid in an education and care setting (appropriate for those who work in an education and care setting).

These courses include practical instruction on administering First Aid and CPR to children. Because you are administering first aid to children, you should also make other considerations.

Staying calm

This is one of the most important things to remember when faced with an emergency involving a child. When a child is injured, it is essential to remain calm and composed as panic can quickly set in.

Stay calm. Assess the situation accurately and make informed decisions about the necessary first aid.

Panicking can lead to further injuries or mistakes, such as administering incorrect first aid, forgetting to call for professional help (triple 000), or even causing additional distress and harm to the child. By staying calm, your actions reassure the child and those around them.

If a child falls and appears to have hurt their arm, staying calm can help you to assess the situation accurately. You may be able to see if the child is in extreme pain or the arm has a visible deformity. This can help you decide whether seeking medical attention is required.

If the child is crying, staying calm can help you to provide reassurance and comfort while administering appropriate first aid measures, such as applying a cold compress or immobilising the affected area.

So, take a few deep breaths, focus, and always stick to your training. Let’s consider some first aid scenarios specific to children and the best course of action to take.


Children are different to adults. Here’s some considerations to make when providing first aid to children.

Observe all age-appropriate techniques outlined in the nationally accredited first aid courses: When administering CPR (Course Code HLTAID009) to an infant, it is suggested to use two fingers for chest compressions, which differs from the technique used for helping an older child or adult.

Comfort and reassurance: During a medical emergency, children may feel scared or experience pain, so it is crucial to provide comfort and ease while administering first aid. This can include holding their hand, using a calm tone, and explaining what you’re doing as you go.

Emotional support: Children may need emotional support following an emergency in addition to physical first aid. You can provide reassurance by holding their hand and validating their feelings by acknowledging how they are feeling. Encouragement is also important, so tell the youngster they’re doing a fantastic job and that they’re courageous. A toy or a tale, for example, might assist in taking their mind off the situation and give a reprieve from any worry or anxiety. Following the administration of first aid, check in with the child to see how they are doing and provide any extra help they may require. Offering emotional support in these ways may make the youngster feel more supported and empowered through a challenging moment.

When administering first aid to a child, obtaining their consent is important. Children should be informed and involved in their healthcare decisions as much as possible.

According to Australian emergency law (https://australianemergencylaw.com/) a child can consent to receiving first aid care provided they understand fully what the first aider is saying. Therefore it’s important to explain to the child what you’re going to do. Get consent before proceeding with any first aid. This can build trust between the child and caregiver and help the child feel more in control of the situation.

If the child is unconscious or unable to consent, the first aider should act in the casualties’ best interests and within the limits of their training. Where the first aider is also the caregiver, day-care worker for example,  the caregiver must make an informed decision about what actions to take based on the situation and the child’s medical history. For example, if a child is having an allergic reaction and is unconscious, and breathing, it’s appropriate for the first aider to administer an epinephrine auto-injector as it could potentially save the child’s life.

It’s also important to note that a child’s consent is not always necessary in emergencies where the caregiver must act quickly to prevent further harm. In these cases, caregivers must act in the child’s best interest to provide the necessary care.

Allergies and Medical conditions

Consideration of allergies and medical conditions:

When providing first aid to children, it is vital to consider any allergies or medical conditions they may have. Because allergic reactions can be life-threatening, carers must be aware of the child’s sensitivity and take appropriate precautions. For example, if you know that a child is allergic to latex, you can use gloves that are latex-free.

It is also crucial to be aware of any pre-existing medical difficulties the child may have had. When delivering first aid, caregivers should be mindful of the child’s medical history and any potential risks. A child with a heart condition may have contraindications to specific therapies or medications.


Finally, providing first aid to children necessitates unique considerations and procedures. There are various crucial tips and methods that help you provide safe and effective care.

These include:

  • communicating effectively
  • offering emotional support
  • being aware of possible hazards and taking required safeguards
  • stay calm and respond swiftly
  • prioritising the child’s well-being
  • getting expert medical assistance when necessary

By following these tips, we can ensure that our children receive the greatest possible care and support during times of need.

Remember that knowing how to offer first aid to children can be a life-saving skill that can make all the difference in an emergency.

Until next time this is trainer Nick. Be safe

AEDs: The Shocking Truth About Automated External Defibrillators.

AEDs: What are they?

Automatic External Defibrillator

AEDs. And how to use them. Here’s the shocking truth! An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is a life-saving device that can treat abnormal heart rhythms due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), a condition where the heart unexpectedly stops pumping.

According to NSW Health –

“Over 33,000 people experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Australia every year. Less than 9% will survive. The first 5 minutes after a person has a cardiac arrest are the most critical. For every minute that passes, the chance of survival decreases. Defibrillators can be used for certain cardiac arrhythmias which occur in around 20-30 per cent of all cardiac arrests. Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation within the first 8-10 minutes can increase the chance of survival by up to 75 per cent.”

It’s important to know what defibrillators, or AEDs, are, how to find them, and how to use them.

What do they do?

Defibrillation is the essential process of restoring the heart’s normal rhythm and is most effective within the first five minutes of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can analyse the heart’s rhythm and identify any abnormality or ventricular fibrillation. The AED then determines whether a shock is necessary and delivers it if needed.

An AED will not restart a heart once it has completely stopped. As shown above, a defib will detect irregular heart rhythms and hopefully, shock them back to normal rhythms.

It is not designed to shock a heart back to life if it has stopped. Nor will it deliver a shock to a heart when it detects a normal heart rhythm.

That answers the question, “AEDs what are they”?

For – How to use them? Read on..

How to use.

Defibrillators are easy to use and provide voice prompts to guide users step-by-step. It’s best to start CPR while someone else retrieves the defibrillator.

They are designed for everyone to use and provide easy-to-follow voice prompts for guidance. While training beforehand is helpful, anyone can use a Defibrillator in an emergency.

However, completing First Aid training and refreshers can save precious time and increase confidence.

Early CPR increases the chance of keeping the heart in a shockable rhythm, improving the chances of survival.

All AEDs basically operate using the following steps:

  1. Open the AED and turn it on. Some of them will start automatically upon opening.
  2. Follow the verbal prompts – it will repeat the prompt until the required action is carried out.
  3. Apply the pads – so the AED can analyse the casualty’s heart rhythm and deliver a shock if required.
  4. Deliver a shock if a shock is advised – Some deliver a shock automatically.
  5. Start CPR if instructed.
  6. Keep going with CPR. Wait for further instructions.

Remember to listen to, and follow, the instructions from the AED. Advise any bystanders to “Stand Clear”! when instructed to by the AED.


Where can I find one?

So, you have a good idea of how to operate a Defib… Now, you are probably thinking, “where can I get a defib if I am out and about”?

Well, you will often find one in your nearest:

  • Hospital, Medical Centre
  • School
  • Community Centre
  • Sporting clubs, shopping Centre,
  • Some fast-food chains

and even

  • Bunnings!

There is also an AED locator App. you can download.

Don’t leave a casualty to get the defib always start CPR and send someone else to get the defib.  

If you are by yourself and need an AED.. you have a problem. If there is one located within about 20 seconds from where you are, you can go and get it and put it on before you start CPR. Any further away than that and you need to start CPR without the Defib.

Can the defibrillator send a shock to someone who does not need it?

No, an AED only delivers a shock if it detects an abnormal heart rhythm. It will not shock a person with a normal heart rhythm or if their heart has stopped.

If the AED detects a normal rhythm or no rhythm at all, it will indicate that no shock is needed.

Can defibrillators be used on pregnant women?

Yes, a pregnant woman should be treated the same as any other person who is not responding or breathing. There are no contraindications to using an AED during pregnancy.

Can I use the defibrillator on a child?

Yes, from the age of 1yr old, we can apply a defib.

An AED will generally come with adult and child pads. Both sets of pads will have a diagram on them showing where to place them on the casualty. Child pads are smaller than adult pads for use with a child’s smaller chest.  

If the available AED only has adult pads, you can still use them on a child up to eight years old. Just place one pad in the centre of the child’s chest and the other pad on their back between their shoulder blades.

After 8 years old we can treat a child the same as an adult and apply the pads according to the pad diagram. Make sure the pads do not touch or are close to each other.


  • An Automatic External Defibrillator, also known as – Defib, AED, or Defibrillator – is an electronic device which assists with the resuscitation of an unconscious, not breathing casualty.
  • The quicker you can apply an AED the more likely you can increase the chance of survival.
  • AEDs can be located in public areas, shopping centres, sporting arenas and some businesses.
  • They are simple to use.

Well, that’s that. Until next time….. Stay safe

First Aid for Snake Bites: Simple and Effective Techniques for Being Prepared

First Aid for Snake Bites


Knowing first aid for snake bites in Australia is important. It doesn’t matter if you live in the bush, the cities, or the suburbs; snakes may be present, so understanding first aid for snake bites and preparing for them is critical.

Snake bites can be lethal. Seek Immediate medical assistance.

So, let’s get familiar with what to do if we, or someone we love, get bitten by a snake!


Of course, you won’t need to use first aid for snake bites if you avoid all snakes!

According to the Medical Journal of Australia, the “Snakebite Project,” research undertaken from 2005 to 2015, there are roughly 3000 snake bites annually in Australia on average.

One of the most difficult issues we face in Australia is that we share an environment with our wriggly buddies. While you may believe that most snake bites occur out bush, a study in 2016 indicated “the majority of snakebite deaths [in Australia] occurred close to the person’s dwelling and were within a major city or inner regional area”.

As you can see, dodging snakes might be difficult. You may avoid becoming a statistic if you educate yourself on snake behaviour and know what to do if bitten.

Be prepared. Be safe. Watch your step!

Here are some tips to reduce your risk of a snake bite

  • Be aware that we share a habitat with snakes. They could be in and around your suburban, city, or rural property.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as boots and long pants, when hiking or working in areas where snakes are present (even in your garden).
  • Avoid reaching into holes, under rocks, or into bushes without first checking for snakes.
  • Don’t be a snake charmer, people! Stepping on or touching snakes, dead or alive, is never a good idea.
  • If you go camping, keep your campsite and sleeping area free of rubbish, which may attract snakes.
  • Store food securely. The smell of food may attract snakes.

So, you ignore all these tips, and you get bitten by a snake. How does the venom get from the bite site to the vital organs where all the damage is done?

Read on…

The Lymphatic System and snake bites

Generally, Australian snake venom travels via the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of tubes travelling around the body that drains lymph fluid which has leaked from the blood vessels into the tissues and empties it back into the bloodstream via the lymph nodes.

The venom travels via these tubes to a lymph node where it enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the vital organs.

Now we’ve got problems!

Symptoms of snake bite

Common symptoms of a snake bite include:

  • Pain or swelling at the bite site.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating or fainting
  • Blurred vision or difficulty speaking.
  • In severe cases, a person may experience muscle paralysis, breathing difficulties or even death.

Pressure Immobilisation Technique (PIT) – First Aid for snake bites

Follow these steps:

  1. Get the victim to sit or lie down on the ground and call 000. Lay the victim on the ground. Laying them down helps to immobilise their lymphatic system as well.
  2. Wrap the affected limb with a large pressure bandage over the bite location as quickly as feasible. Use elasticised bandages if available. The bandage should be firm yet not restrict blood circulation. A finger should not easily slide between the bandage and the skin.
  3. To further restrict the venom’s passage, beginning at the toes or fingertips, wrap a second bandage over the whole length of the limb, By applying pressure to the leg or arm, and reducing lymphatic flow, we can delay the spread of venom. The goal is to keep the bandage tight enough to be effective without cutting off circulation. It is critical to monitor the limb and ensure it’s still warm and pink rather than cold and blue.
  4. Use a splint or a sling to keep the limb as motionless as possible. Get to a hospital as soon as possible for proper treatment.
  5. Commence CPR

If you do not have any bandages or a first aid kit, use what you have.

Remember the PIT – it might save your life!

When to seek medical attention

If you suspect a snake has bitten you, or someone you know, seek medical attention immediately and call 000. Even if the bite does not appear severe, it is still important to receive prompt medical treatment. If left untreated, a snake bite can quickly worsen and result in serious health complications or death.


Snakes can be dangerous, and it is important to avoid a bite. But, if a snake does bite you, apply the Pressure Immobilisation Technique and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Treatment for a snake bite may include, administering antivenom, pain relief, and monitoring for symptoms and signs of an allergic reaction or other complications.

The good news is, with prompt treatment, most people who are bitten by a snake make a full recovery.

Take care and be safe. Check out some of our other Blog Posts here