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Alpha One Medical - Good Samaritan & First Aid Principles

Principles of first aid

The aims of first aid are to:

  • Preserve life - this includes the life of rescuer, bystander and casualty.
  • Protect from further harm - ensure the scene is safe and avoid harmful intervention.
  • Prevent condition worsening - provide appropriate treatment.
  • Promote recovery - act quickly, provide comfort and reassurance, get help, call 000.

Helping at an emergency may involve:

  • Phoning for help
  • Comforting casualty or family
  • Keeping order at an emergency scene
  • Administer first aid
  • There are many ways you can help, but first you must decide to act.

Reasons why people do not help:

  • Fear of doing something wrong
  • Fear of disease transmission
  • Uncertainty about the casualty
  • Nature of injury or illness (blood, vomit, burnt skin can be unpleasant)
  • Presence of bystanders (embarrassed to come forward or take responsibility)
  • You may need to compose yourself before acting. Do not panic - a calm controlled first aider, gives everyone confidence. If you follow basic first aid procedures, you should deliver appropriate care, even if you don't know what the underlying problem is. Remember, at an emergency scene, your help is needed.

Getting Help:

  • Call 000 for an ambulance, fire or police. If 000 from a mobile phone fails, call 112. If you ask for an ambulance, a call taker will ask you the following.
  1. What is the exact location of the incident?
  2. What is the phone number from which you are calling?
  3. Callers name?
  4. What has happened?
  5. How many casualty's
  6. Condition of the casualty's
  • Stay calm and respond clearly. The call taker will provide you with first aid instructions and dispatch the ambulance and paramedics. Do not hang up until you are told to do so or the operator hangs up first. If a bystander is making the 000 call, ensure they confirm with you that the call has been made and that the location is exact.

Legal issues

No Good Samaritan or volunteer in Australia has never been successfully sued for the consequences of rendering assistance to a person in need. A Good Samaritan is a person, acting in good faith, without the expectation of financial or other reward.

Duty of care:

In a workplace there are automatic duty of care to provide help to staff and customers, which means you are required to provide help to your best ability at your workplace. In the community, you are usually under no legal obligation to provide first aid.


where possible, always gain consent from the casualty before providing first aid. If the casualty refuses help, you must respect that decision. When the casualty is a child, if feasible seek permission from the parent/guardian. If the parent/guardian is not present immediate first aid should be given. In a child care situation, parents must notify the centre if the child has any medical conditions and also provide medications and instructions. Consent forms are signed at enrolment. In an emergency, parents or a doctor can also provide authorisation over the phone.


Personal information about the health of a casualty is confidential. This information includes details of medical conditions and treatment provided. First aiders should only disclose personal information when handing over to medical assistance - paramedics.

Currency requirements:

For first aid skills and knowledge varies between jurisdictions. A first aid certificate is a statement that the candidate was assessed as competent on a given date. The accepted industry standard is that certificates are valid evidence of competency for 3 years for first aid and 1 year for CPR. Some industries require employees to renew certificates more frequently.

(Dr Audrey Sisman - ABC of first aid 9th Edition 2018)







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