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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Aussies worried about catching COVID from first aid emergency

More than eight in 10 (82%) Australians are worried they could catch COVID-19 from a first aid emergency that involves performing CPR[1], new research from Australian Red Cross has revealed.

What’s more, the research also shows that over half of us (57%) are unsure whether we would actually step in to help administer first aid or CPR in an emergency situation, due to fears of contracting COVID-19. Millennials and Gen Zs (aged 18-34 years) were most convinced they would catch COVID-19 if they administered CPR during the pandemic.

However in reality, according to Janie McCullagh, Australian Red Cross Regional Training Lead, the risk of transmission can be minimised with proper hygiene practices – something which is always crucial when administering first aid.

“Elements of CPR, such as chest compressions, can still be administered during the pandemic with good hygiene practices to help minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19,” she said.

“When faced with an emergency situation, it’s always better to react and do something rather than nothing, as your actions could mean the difference between life and death.”

In order to help Aussies feel more confident to deploy first aid skills during the pandemic, this World First Aid Day (Saturday 12 September, Australian Red Cross is hosting free, COVID-friendly online workshops demonstrating how first aid procedures can be adapted and administered in a way that can help to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The workshops will be presented by accredited Australian Red Cross first aid trainers online via Zoom at 9.30am and 11.30am.

By hosting the online training sessions, Australian Red Cross aims to ensure that not only are Australians equipped with vital first aid knowledge, but also to help make them aware of how to utilise first aid skills effectively with good hygiene practices.

“First aid skills are more important than ever during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With us all spending more time at home, the chances of at-home emergencies are naturally increased,” Ms McCullagh said.

“It’s also important to remember that you may be the first on scene at an emergency, hence why being first aid trained and knowing how to provide a timely response is so vital.”

Given the unprecedented times, Australian Red Cross is inviting even the most experienced first aiders to update their skills on World First Aid Day (12 September) to ensure their practices minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“We are calling on all Australians to learn new skills or renew existing ones by signing up to join the Australian Red Cross First Aid workshops on 12 September, to ensure they are prepared to help in emergency situations which may arise during the pandemic and beyond,” Ms McCullagh said.

Facts around First Aid:

●       A person who has gone into cardiac arrest has an 80% chance of surviving if CPR is started in the first minute. This goes down to less than 5% survival chance if CPR is not started until 10 minutes later. [2]

●       Approximately 260 children die and 58,000 are hospitalised every year due to unintentional injury in Australia. This means that more Australian children die of injury than die of cancer, asthma and infectious diseases combined.[3]

●       Globally, around 140,000 people die each year in situations where their lives could have been saved if somebody had known first aid. [4]


Australians interested in taking part in a free basic first aid training session on World First Aid Day should go to redcross.org.au/WFAD – places are limited.


1800 RED CROSS (733 276) | E:[email protected] | W: redcross.org.au/learn


[1] Australian Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Survey.

[2] ABC, abc.net.au/news/health/2018-02-13/cardiac-arrest-vs-heart-attack-and-first-aid/9379018

[3] KidSafe Victoria, kidsafevic.com.au/about/news?start=21

[4] The Guardian, theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/sep/23/first-aid-basics-to-know

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