For many of us, it feels like the world has been put on hold during COVID-19. With the extra time we are spending at home, increasing numbers of people are learning a new skill - like picking up an instrument or teaching themselves how to paint.
But there is one skill that might just be the most important of all - knowing how to help in an emergency situation. Knowing first aid and CPR gives you a set of skills that is critical in many emergency situations, not just aquatic emergencies.
According to the Royal Life Saving Society (Australia), in most drowning or near-drowning events, a family member is usually the first on the scene. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation and responding quickly is paramount to increasing a patient's chance of survival. Many children have their parents to thank for saving their lives, as they knew how to perform CPR.
Approximately 60% of injuries requiring first aid treatment occur in the home, meaning that it is likely to be your own family who require your help in an emergency situation.
Learning First Aid and CPR normally requires a face-to-face course, however due to COVID-19 many are now being taught remotely. Some companies are offering courses entirely online, some are mostly online with just the practical component face-to-face, and others are allowing the theory to be completed online now with the practical component to be completed once restrictions ease. There are many organisations who teach these life saving skills - check out the links below for more information:
To download and print a copy of a CPR chart, free of charge, visit NSW Ambulance. The information provided in the chart is not intended as a substitute for completing a First Aid or CPR course.
(This information is not intended to substitute the lifesaving skills learnt through participating in a First Aid or CPR course. Col Jones Hurstville urges all our parents and carers to enrol in a course today.)
Danger - Check for danger
Response - Is the patient unresponsive?
Send for help - Shout for help, call 000 for an ambulance, and ask for a defibrillator if there is one available
Airway - Check airway is open and unobstructed
Breathing - Look, listen and feel for breathing
CPR - Start CPR (30 compressions : 2 breaths)
Defibrillator - Attach a defibrillator as soon as it is available
Backyard pools are perhaps the most obvious places which pose a risk of drowning, but even if you do not have a pool at home, the risk of drowning around the home is still very much present. There are many areas both inside the home and around the garden which present as dangers to young children.
The Royal Lifesaving Society Australia (RLSA) have found that drowning deaths have occurred in the following places:
Often, it is young children and toddlers who are most at risk of drowning in these places and it is often when supervision is lacking and parents or carers attention is diverted. RLSA recommends that when there are known bodies of water around the home, that supervision is constant. Where possible, bodies of water should be removed - bathtubs emptied immediately, ice and liquids removed from eskies, and buckets emptied (particularly following rain).
The Royal Lifesaving Society Australia also highlights the importance of supervision in social settings, where bodies of water around the home may not always be known and where attention may be divided. On many occasions there may be confusion as to who is watching the children, with adults wrongly assuming somebody else is. To avoid confusion, RLSA advise that in social settings at least one responsible adult is designated the 'child supervisor' at all times.
For more advice and fact sheets, and to read a real life tragic story on an esky drowning death, head to the Royal Life Society Australia's website.