Lesson 2.1 – Hazards

A hazard is an object or situation that causes injury, harm or damage.  Can you see, smell or hear anything that could cause damage?  Talk to other people on the scene about any hazards that they might have found.

The three concepts behind a risk assessment in an emergency situation are:

  • Risk assessed before, during and after providing first aid
  • Weighing up the benefits of going ahead with first aid against risks that could be involved
  • Think before you act, rather than act before you think

In order to identify hazards, you should check:

  • up high – overhead hazards, weather conditions
  • at eye-level – traffic, people, fire, smoke, gas
  • down below – wires, sharp objects
  • other specific hazards – bystanders, bodily fluids, drugs

If you find a hazard, you need to conduct a risk assessment.  Ask yourself:  What is the chance that the hazard will hurt someone or cause damage?  If it does, how bad will the injury or damage be?

Identified hazards need to be controlled, which can be done by:

  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Isolating the casualty from the hazard (asking bystanders to make space/leave the scene)

Lesson 1.8 – Manual Handling

You may need to move a casualty because of hazards in the environment or restrictions in assessing the casualty for proper treatment. As a general rule, to avoid injuring yourself, you should always bend your knees and not your back when lifting.

Understand your own limitations and strengths and where possible get somebody to help you to move the casualty.

There are various emergency moves you can use if there is nobody available to assist you.

  • Ankle Drag
  • Arm Drag
  • Clothes Drag
  • Blanket Drag

Lesson 1.7 – Duty of Care

As an identified or workplace first aider, you owe a duty of care to apply first aid knowledge and skills to the level of your training.

Once first aid has started, you are under a legal obligation to continue to provide care until:

  • Vital signs return
  • If danger returns
  • Paramedic assistance arrives and takes over
  • Exhaustion makes it impossible to continue

Lesson 1.6 – Consent

Australian law is built on the basis that everyone has the right to have control over his or her own body.  If you decide to proceed with first aid, you must seek and make every attempt to gain consent from the casualty, and if requested, cease treatment.

With a child, under the age of sixteen (16), seek consent from the parent or guardian. Casualties between 16-18 must understand if the situation is life-threatening.

It’s generally recognised in common law that one of the fundamental duties of being a parent is the maintenance and protection of a child, with the duty also including providing consent to medical treatment on behalf of the child when necessary.

Where parent or caregiver is not present, any incident must be reported to them as soon as possible or no later than 24hrs after the event or illness.

It is always best to ask the casualty (if they are well enough to respond) if they are comfortable with receiving assistance.  Depending on their level of consciousness, they may respond with hand gestures, body language or verbal. If the casualty is unconscious and is not responding to your questions, you should proceed with first aid.

To reassure the casualty you should:

  • Make a personal introduction
  • Show empathy
  • Maintain constant communication with the casualty
  • Adopt a caring voice tone and volume
  • Offer reassurance in a culturally appropriate manner

Lesson 1.5 – Skills and Limitations

As a first aider, you are not expected to be an expert, so you need to be aware of your own personal limitations which can include:

ANZCOR guidelines are based on internationally recognised practices. When providing first aid, First Aiders must only provide assistance within the limit of their skills and training.

Lesson 1.2 – Australia and New Zealand Resuscitation Council (ANZCOR)

ANZCOR provides guidelines for uniformity and standardisation of resuscitation and first aid practices in Australia to teach at any level. The Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) recommends that cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills be updated and assessed annually (every 12 months).

Lesson 1.1 – First Aid Emergencies

A first aid emergency is a situation where there is an immediate risk to health and life and urgent action is required. You should know and look for signs of possible emergencies. Use all your senses to help identify an emergency, such as:

  • Behaviours
  • Noises
  • Sights
  • Smells

Lesson 4.4 – Concussion and Head Injury

A concussion is caused by a blow to the head and may cause temporary unconsciousness or confusion.  Anybody with a suspected concussion should seek medical help urgently.

Concussion signs and symptoms

  • Altered or abnormal responses to commands and touch
  • Blurred vision, faintness or dizziness
  • Confusion and loss of memory, particularly of the event
  • Persistent headache
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting within a few hours after the head injury
  • Wounds to the scalp or face

Management of Concussion and Head Injury


  • Follow DRSABCD
  • Advise to seek medical attention
  • Call triple 000
  • If no spinal injury, place in a position of comfort

If unconscious with suspected spinal injury, place in the recovery position.

Head Injury

  • Call triple 000
  • Control any bleeding
  • If bleeding from the ear, secure sterile dressing over the ear and place casualty on their injured side
  • Monitor the casualty

Lesson 4.2 – Stress and Debrief

As a first aider, many decisions are made in split seconds and you need to accept that the decisions made at the time were the best decisions.

Self-doubt is common with “what if” and “if only” questions and statements. Be objective and remain positive.

Management of Stress

  • Use the situation to add to your experience, there may be lessons learned/opportunities to improve – reflection guides us 
  • Obtain support from a relevant agency or as provided by your employer
  • Attend debriefings and/or obtain professional help elsewhere

Lesson 4.1 – Documentation, Privacy and Confidentiality

The purpose of a First Aid Record, or Incident Record form is to ensure all treatment provided and the casualty responses are recorded. 

This also serves:

  • as protection for individuals (first aider, patient)
  • as protection for employer/organisation
  • to assists with future investigations and trend analysis

All records should be:

  • accurate and factual
  • legible and written in permanent black/blue ink
  • errors/mistakes must remain legible; strike through/initial

Treatment records are legal documents and must remain confidential.  It is recommended that they are stored securely in a locked cabinet or on a secure company server or computer.

Lesson 3.3 – Triple Zero

When calling emergency services (by dialling 000) let the operator know the following details:

  • Where the emergency is – exact address/location.  The more details you can provide, the easier the emergency services can find you
  • What has happened – car accident, fall, drowning etc.  How many people are involved and the condition of the casualty/s (bleeding, unconscious, chest pain etc)
  • What is being done – details of the first aid that is being/has been provided so far
  • Your name and the number you are calling from in case the call drops out

There are various ways you can contact emergency services. By either dialling the emergency numbers listed below or via the Emergency + app.

Lesson 3.2 – Chain of Survival

The chain of survival is the four steps required to give a person in cardiac arrest the best chance of survival.

Understanding the links in the chain of survival will improve the probability of survival from a cardiac arrest.

The 4 links in the chain of survival are:

Early Acess

Recognise the signs of a cardiac arrest and send for help by dialling triple zero (000/mobile 112).

Early CPR

Do not delay and commence CPR immediately.

Early Defibrillation

Request an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) from a bystander. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, there is approximately 10% reduction in survival.

Early Advanced Care Procedures

The sooner professional emergency medical personnel/workers can attend the casualty, the better the chance of survival. Seek assistance from paramedics as soon as possible.

The chain of survival will improve the probability of survival from a cardiac arrest.

Lesson 3.1 – Basic Life Support

When applying first aid, always remember that a first aiders function is to:

  • Preserve life
  • Prevent illness, injury and condition(s) becoming worse
  • Promote recovery
  • Protect the unconscious casualty

The DRSABCD represent ‘Basic Life Support’ in accordance with the ARC guidelines and it is used to perform CPR.  It is a core part of emergency first aid treatment.

Lesson 2.4 – Basic Anatomy

You need to be aware of the basic anatomy and physiology of the human body to assess the type of injury, how bad it is and how best to respond.


The breastbone is a thin, flat bone running down the centre of the chest, to which the ribs are attached.

Respiratory System

This involves the ability to breathe and includes the lungs, mouth, nose and windpipe

Without oxygen, brain damage can result within 4 minutes

Signs and symptoms of a casualty not breathing normally are:

  • Wheezing
  • Gurgling
  • Stridor (high pitched whistling sound heard while taking a breath)
  • Shrill

Lesson 2.3 – Standard Precautions

The first thing that anyone providing first aid should be aware of when entering a situation is the potential for danger to themselves. This is especially important in first aid, as situations which have been dangerous to others carry an inherent risk of danger to those providing first aid.  First Aiders are less likely to contract infectious diseases if they use standard precautions when attending a casualty.


The main tool of the first aider to avoid this risk is a pair of impermeable gloves.  Gloves protect the key contact point with the victim (i.e. the hands) and allow you to work in increased safety.  They protect not only from bodily fluids and faeces but from any dermatological infections or parasites that the victim may have.

Safety Glasses/Face Mask/Shield

Prevents spurting or pooled fluid which could come in contact with your face.

Sharps Container

These items that can puncture your skin are called ‘sharps’. Used sharps should be put in a strong container that cannot pierce. You must be able to seal the container. This means no one can be hurt by the used sharp. 

Protective Personal Equipment (PPE)

PPE will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment.