Awareness and First Aid

An ER24 professional explains how basic bystander first aid can be crucial in a medical emergency.

“In a career spanning more than 30 years, I've come across countless scenes where bystander assistance has made a positive difference,” says Alan Rudnicki, an Ambulance Emergency Assistant at ER24 West Metro. “Some assisted with CPR, helped at motor vehicle accident sites by keeping the injured as still and calm as possible, and provided support or even counselling at assaults or domestic incidents. This is all valuable, life-saving support.”

The purpose of first aid

First aid provides the bridge between danger and professional help, explains Rudnicki. It can save lives, prevent further injury, and aid the recovery process. But before acting, a first aider must be calm, focused, and able to assess the scene for hazards. “The goal is to prevent the patient from further injuring themselves, and to protect an unconscious/unresponsive patient on the scene while waiting for emergency medical services (EMS) and other first responders,” he says.

It’s important to think quickly – from assessing the safety of the scene to calling for help, every step matters. Even the seemingly small act of wearing gloves can protect both the first aider and the patient. The aim is to create a safe environment while waiting for ER24 professionals to take over.

Examples of basic first aid

A first aider must remain calm and methodical until professional assistance is available. Remember that you can be a source of comfort. Effective communication, reassurance, and maintaining a calm presence significantly impact the emotional wellbeing of the injured or distressed patient.

In terms of practical skills, a first aider is equipped to provide immediate care to individuals with injuries, from applying basic bandages to controlling bleeding in the case of anything from minor cuts and scrapes to more extensive wounds.

In the case of a serious incident, e.g., at the scene of a motor vehicle accident, a first aider can play a crucial role in keeping an injured individual stable. This may involve reassuring the patient, immobilising their neck and spine, and controlling bleeding until ER24 arrives. In situations involving assaults or domestic incidents, they may provide emotional support and reassurance to the victim until professional help arrives. Creating a safe and calming environment is essential in such scenarios.

How to contact ER24

When you call ER24 on 084 124, it helps to remain calm and speak clearly at a controlled pace so the Emergency Resource Officer (ERO) at the Contact Centre can best understand the emergency. It’s also crucial to provide as much detailed information about the patient and the incident as possible. This ensures the fastest and most accurate response.

Being able to inform the ERO about hazards or dangers on the scene is also key, says Rudnicki. These could be the presence of live electricity, blood, fire hazards, glass, or road traffic. The information helps ensure the efficient arrival of the ambulance and the safety of all involved.

“In the world of first aid, composure is your greatest asset," he says. By integrating basic first aid into your wellness journey, you safeguard yourself, your family, and others. Learning basic first aid equips you to help in an emergency and turns safety into a way of life.

For real help, real fast, call ER24 at 084 124. For more information on our products and services, visit our website at