First aid saves lives. Our first aid guides explain what to do in an emergency.

Learn what to look for and what to do in an emergency. To open any guide, just click on the image or use the search below. 

Abdominal Injuries

Learn what to do if someone suffers an injury to their abdomen.


Asthma is a common condition in which breathing becomes difficult because of inflammation of the air passages.

Allergic Reactions

Some people are severely allergic to certain foods, chemicals and medications, or to injected venoms following a bite or sting.

Bites & Stings

Bites are made by an animal jaw or mouth parts – e.g. a dog or spider. A venomous animal uses stinging apparatus combined with the injection of venom – e.g. jellyfish, bee or wasp.


Bleeding is usually minor in nature but can sometimes impose serious threat if a large vein or artery has been injured.


Contact with any source of heat can cause a burn or scald injury. A burn can result from contact with a heat source such as hot metal or electricity, hot liquid or steam.

Chest Pain

Chest pain that lasts for more than 10 minutes could be serious. A person may be having a heart attack and need help until an ambulance arrives.

Childbirth & miscarriage

Childbirth usually takes several hours. Although in exceptional cases a baby arrives suddenly before it is possible to move the mother to hospital, it is rare for this to happen with a mother’s first baby because the birth canal needs to undergo a great deal of stretching and adaptation to allow the baby’s head to move down from the womb.


True choking is when a person is unable to breathe or speak due to a complete obstruction in the throat or windpipe.


Croup is usually the result of a viral infection and it affects babies and young children between 3 months and 3 years and rarely occurs after the age of 5 years.


Diabetes is a medical condition in which there is little or no insulin production in the pancreas. The result is an inability to process carbohydrates, fats and proteins correctly.

Eye injuries

The eye is a delicate structure that is easily damaged by a small foreign body. If a foreign body scratches or scars the eye surface, the patient may lose some or all vision in the injured eye. Eye protection should always be worn when particles or fluid could enter the eye.

Fractures & dislocations

A dislocation is where a bone has been displaced from its normal position at a joint. A fracture is when a bone has been broken.

Head injuries

Injuries to the head should always be treated seriously as there may be damage to the brain. Sometimes this damage may not be evident for hours after the injury occurs.

Infection control

Mouth and tooth injuries

Injuries to the mouth and/or teeth can result from a fall on the face or a direct blow, such as a punch.

Overdose – drugs or alcohol

Almost any drug taken in excess can cause a person to suffer the effects of an overdose. Some prescribed medicines and recreational drugs taken in excess or without medical supervision can prove fatal unless prompt care is available.


A poison is a substance that causes injury, illness or death if it enters the body. Poisons may enter the body in the form of liquids, solids, or gas and vapour fumes.


Seizures or convulsions

A seizure or convulsion can occur at any age and is due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain resulting in uncontrollable muscular activity and loss of consciousness. There are many types of seizure, with some being relatively mild and others severe and prolonged.

Sprains, Strains, & Bruises

Injuries that involve body tissues apart from bone are generally classified as soft tissue injuries. Sprains, strains and bruises are all soft tissue injuries, although the cause and tissues involved in each injury are different.


A stroke is a condition in which part of the brain is affected by an interruption to the normal blood supply. This can result from a clot in a blood vessel that stops blood passing through to brain tissue. If this condition is recognised at an early stage and hospital care is readily available, drug treatment is able to dissolve the clot, resulting in a full recovery.

Skills and Procedures

Tips for home carers

Calling an ambulance

To call an ambulance for a medical emergency, dial 111.

Test your knowledge

Mental Health First Aid Guides

Take a First Aid CourseBuy a St John first aid KitBuy the St John first aid BookTXT 111