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Preparing for a safe summer

What do you do if you're first on the scene of a road accident? How do you treat an injury or snake bite away from home?

Friday December 12, 2014

Always remember to take a Red Cross first aid kit with you - it could save a life.

The answer to these and many more first aid questions have been provided by Red Cross first aid trainer, Anthony Cameron in a series of Red Cross first aid tips that will be published by local newspapers over the next few weeks to help you and your family stay safe over summer.

Summer usually means outdoor fun which can also result in sprains, strains and broken bones.

"If you find yourself, or someone else injured remember the basic principles of
R-I-C-E-R" says Anthony.

Rest -Don't walk on, or use the injured area.

Ice - Apply ice indirectly to the injured area to reduce swelling and pain. If you don't have any ice you can use frozen veggies wrapped in a dish towel. Never place ice directly on skin as it can damage the skin tissue over time, and don't apply ice for longer than 20 minutes with breaks of about an hour between each ice pack.

Compression - Apply a firm compression bandage if available to stabilise and help the injured area.

Elevate and Refer - Elevate the affected limb if it doesn't cause the person more pain, and seek medical advice.

"Does anyone have a medical condition or allergy? "Don't forget their medication" says Anthony.

Is there a first aid kit in the car? Every car and family should have a first aid kit on hand all year round but especially if you are going off the beaten track. In an emergency, doing something is always better than doing nothing.

To treat tropical jellyfish stings, wash any stingers with salt water and irrigate the area with vinegar. If vinegar is not available, apply a mixture of baking soda and water, or continue flushing with salt water. Do not use fresh water as it may increase the pain. Non-tropical jellyfish (including the Portuguese man o' war or blue bottle) are best treated with hot water, but not too hot, or a cold compress.

If you suspect a person has been bitten by a venomous snake call 000 immediately. Don't apply a tourniquet to a snake bite, just apply firm pressure to the bite site and bandage from the extreme of the limb towards the body, covering the entire limb. You can mark the bite site on the surface of the bandage.

"When it comes to beach safety, always swim between the red and yellow flags" says Anthony.

We should be aware of our limitations and not attempt any rescue that is beyond our capacity. We should also refrain from drinking alcohol before swimming and refrain from swimming at night. If the beach is unfamiliar ask a lifesaver or someone local about rips, deep holes and sandbars.

If someone appears to be drowning do not enter the water unless you are specifically trained to perform water rescues. As with other first aid emergency incidents, always follow the basic life support process, don't endanger yourself and call 000 first to ensure help is sent as soon as possible.

A common mistake is to not administer CPR at all for fear of using the incorrect method. Any effort is better than no effort at all.

Always remember to take a Red Cross first aid kit in the car or caravan and better still, book into a Red Cross first aid training course. You can purchase a Red Cross first aid kit or book your first aid training course online, or call 1300 367 428.

We're offering FREE delivery on first aid kits ordered online before 31 December 2014!