First aid - basic - what is it?
bleeding; bleed; burn; scald; broken bone; bone; poison; unconscious; coma; faint; bee sting; snake bite; breathing; breathe; blood; shock; recovery position; first aid; danger; response; airway; circulation; safe; DRABC; resusitation. ;
The first aid actions in this topic should only be used by someone who has done a first aid course and knows exactly what to do.
If your friend has an accident or someone collapses (perhaps from a heart attack) then the first person there will be the first aider or the person who will help her until others get there.
First aid is about using your commonsense in ways that will keep her safe without doing harm to her.
It's a great idea for older children and adults to do a first aid course so that you know what to do to help others.
At school, all teachers and other staff will know what to do; in other places ask an adult to help.
Calling for help
Calling for help is the most important thing a kid can do in an emergency.
If you're going to be the one making the emergency phone call, here's what to do:
- Take a deep breath to calm down a little.
- Call 000 (in Australia). If your mobile phone is out of range you could try 112.
- Tell the operator there's an emergency.
- Say your name and where you are - the exact address if you know it.
- Explain what happened and how many people are hurt. The operator will need all the information you can provide, so give as many details as you can.
- Follow all of the operator's instructions carefully.
- Stay on the line until the operator says it's OK to hang up. If you do not know just where you are - stay on the phone and the emergency service may be able to find you – don't hang up.
Here is something to help you remember what to do if you are the only person around.
The letters stand for
D = Danger
R = Response
S = Send for help
A = Airway
B = Breathing
C = Compression
D = Defibrillate
Before you do anything to help your friend make sure that it is safe for you to help her.
If it is safe for you but your friend is in a dangerous place, like the middle of the road if she has fallen off her bike, then get her to move to a safer place.
Do not move an unconscious person who may have a bad injury (like being hit by a car or falling from a tree). You could make the injury worse.
NEVER stand out in the road trying to make cars stop. This is very dangerous. Wave and shout for help from the pavement.
This is to find out if your friend is awake and able to talk to you (respond to you), or if she might be unconscious.
Call out to the person.
- Tap his face or shoulder gently if he seems to be asleep.
- Ask him what happened.
- Ask him where he hurts.
If he doesn't answer or move he could be unconscious. Call for help.
Ask someone to help you or get someone to dial 000 for an ambulance while you help the person if you are trained in first aid.
If a person is unconscious he may not be able to breathe easily if he is on his back. If he has collapsed or had an epileptic fit the best position for the unconscious person is to lie in the 'recovery' position. You should not put a person who has been badly injured into the 'recovery' position as you could make the injury worse by moving the person.
Your first aid teacher will tell you how to put a person into that position.
These are the steps that a person who has been trained in first aid will do.
|Clearing the mouth
Tilt the head back to open the airway.
Look and feel if anything is in the mouth and scoop it out with the middle fingers.
The recovery position
One arm out, the other arm folded to touch the shoulder
Support the head and lift the knee, keep your knees close to the body of your friend. Roll her gently away from you. If someone else is there - get her to help by supporting the head.
This needs to be done very carefully and slowly.
Check to see if she is breathing.
This is done by watching or feeling her lower chest to see if it is moving up and down.
You can check by putting your ear close to her face, so that you can feel or listen to find out if there is air coming out of her mouth.
If the person is not breathing – maybe the person has had a heart attack or has almost drowned - resuscition needs to be done. Pushing downwards carefully on the person's chest will help keep the person's blood circulating. The person who you have talked to on the emergency phone line will tell you how to do this.
You should not try this unless you have been trained to do so or someone is telling you just what to do.
If the person starts breathing again:
- Carefully, but quickly, turn her back onto her side as she may vomit (throw up).
- If she does vomit, then you may need to clear her mouth again if she is not fully awake
- Stay with her.
Talk quietly to your friend.
If no-one is around stay with her until someone comes along.
You should not try to use a defibrillator unless you have been trained how to use it.
When a person has had a heart attack their heart may beat too fast for the blood to go around their body normally. People who have been specially trained may be able to use a machine called a defibrillator (say de-fib-ril-ator). This shocks the heart into a normal rhythm.
There are now defibrillators in many public places such as some shopping centres, schools and workplaces. They are labelled AED and look like a small plastic or metal case.
Answering your questions
What if my baby sister is not breathing and I am looking after her?
||Call the Telephone Emergency number immediately (000 in Australia). The person answering the call will get an ambulance to your house as quickly as possible. |
||You need to tell them your address and what the problem is. |
||Don't hang up the phone. |
||They will tell you what to do to help your sister. |
||They might tell you to go through the steps of D.R.S.A.B.C.|
||It's a good idea to have a list of emergency numbers by your phone. Look at our Emergency action planner for some ideas on what numbers you may need. |
||Stay calm and don't feel bad if you cannot do resuscitation. It is difficult to do if you have not had any training.|
Where can I do a First aid course?
In Australia, you can ask about courses at
Why not ask the Student Representative Council at your school to ask if there could be courses in Basic First Aid for all year 6 and 7 students? What a great student initiative that would be!
Or, if you live in South Australia you could click on this link to find out how to become involved with St John Ambulance as a volunteer junior or cadet.
Dr Kate says
"The most important thing to remember about first aid is that you have to keep yourself safe. Always look out for danger and send for help as soon as possible.
Just being there for your friend will make her feel better and you will be able to say what has happened when an adult or the ambulance people come along…..and that will be very helpful."
If your friend is bleeding you could help her stop the bleeding by getting her to put pressure on the part of the body which is bleeding. There is information about what to do in the topic 'First aid – bleeding'.
There are several other first aid topics on this site:
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.