Most Australians don't know first aid

Fewer than five per cent of people in Australia are trained in first aid, one of the lowest rates in the world, the Red Cross says.

Most Australians don't have the first aid training required to save the life of a loved one in an emergency.

The Red Cross says fewer than five per cent of people in Australia are trained in first aid, one of the lowest rates in the world.

Almost half a million injured Australians are admitted to hospitals every year, with around 12,000 people dying from their injuries, primarily from falls.

Red Cross trainer Janie McCullagh says life-threatening injuries can occur anywhere, anytime and people shouldn't be complacent.

"People have to be ready to know what to do," she said.

"Everyday you hear something, you see something, you watch the news and often it was the first responders at the scene that made the biggest difference."

According to the Red Cross home injury accounts for 45 per cent of severe injuries sustained by women, while 25 per cent of men are injured at home.

The elderly and children are most at risk, with women 60 and older accounting for more than two-thirds of hospital admissions for home injury, while 58,000 injured children are admitted to hospital every year.

At the very minimum people should undertake cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, Ms McCullagh said.

Giving CPR keeps oxygenated blood pumping through the body ensuring it reaches the brain and vital organs.

If administered within the first minute after a person's heart has stopped their chance of surviving is 80 per cent.

With the treat of terrorism ever present, knowing how to stop a critical bleed could also mean the difference between a person dying or not.

"Bleeding is a huge priority, if you have an arterial bleed and it isn't managed that person can bleed out and die," Ms McCullagh said.

First aid won't always result in the best possible outcome but it can make a real difference, says Ms McCullagh.

"Having the skills to give first aid before an ambulance arrives can also ensure a faster recovery. Once you have the knowledge it stays with you for life and gives you the confidence to react in the event of an accident."


* A person whose heart has stopped has an 80 per cent chance of surviving if CPR is started in the first minute. Survival goes down to less than five per cent if CPR is not started within 10 minutes.

* More than two million Australians suffer from asthma and over four million from allergies. These are both conditions that can lead to life-threatening situations requiring immediate first aid, especially in children.

Source AAP

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