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As the weather heats up and people spend more time outdoors, St John Ambulance Queensland is sending a timely reminder to keep first aid skills up-to-date.

A number of common ailments affect people more regularly in the summer months including sunburn, bluebottle stings, bee stings, burns and heat exhaustion.

“People spend more time outdoors in summer and even a few extra moments in the sun can lead to severe sunburn or heat exhaustion,” said Alex Hutton, Chief Executive Officer of St John Ambulance Queensland.

“St John Ambulance Queensland recommends wearing protective clothing, using at least 30+ sunscreen and wearing sunglasses outdoors.  It’s also important to keep up your fluid intake and avoid extended periods in direct sunlight to avoid heat exhaustion,” he said.

St John Ambulance Queensland first aid courses are designed to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to deal with a first aid situation.

St John Ambulance Queensland is encouraging all Australian’s to Get Summer Ready by learning first aid. 

Visit to book a course or to order your first aid kit. 

St John DRABCD Action Plan

  • Danger – Ensure the area is safe for yourself, others and the patient
  • Response – Check for a response by asking their name or squeezing their shoulders.  If no response, send for help
  • Send for help –Send for help immediately by calling triple zero (000) for an ambulance
  • Airway – Open the mouth. If foreign materials, place the person in the recovery position and clear airway with fingers
  • Breathing – Look, listen and feel for breathing.  If breathing is not normal, start CPR
  • CPR – Give 30 compressions: 20 breaths. Continue CPR until help arrives or patient recovers
  • Defibrillation – Apply a defibrillator if available and follow voice prompts


Summer Safety with St John First Aid

With summer now upon us, it is timely to be reminded of a few of the most common summer safety tips, and to encourage even more people to learn first aid.  First aid advice and training can make a difference to your safety, and that of your family, this summer.  St John also recommends having a first aid kit close by. 


  • Rest casualty in a cool place.
  • Place under a cold shower, in a cold bath, or sponge with cold water.
  • Apply cool gauze padding to the burnt area.
  • Give cool drinks.
  • Seek medical aid for young babies and casualties with blisters.

Bluebottle stings

  • DON’T try to wash the sting off with fresh water.
  • Pick off any tentacles with tweezers or your fingers.
  • Place patient's stung limb in hot water (as hot as you, the first aider, can tolerate).
  • Ensure call for ambulance has been made - triple zero (000).

Bee stings

  • Remove stings by scraping sideways with your fingernail or with the edge of a knife.
  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack directly over the bite site to relieve the pain
  • Watch for allergic reactions - breathing difficulties, rashes, itching, or swelling around the mouth or eyelids.

If an allergic reaction takes place, follow DRSABCD and call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

  • Observe and record pulse and breathing.
  • If the patient is carrying an auto-injector (e.g. Epipen®) it should be used immediately
  • If conscious: help casualty to remain sitting or lying in a position which most relieves breathing difficulty.
  • If unconscious: Immediately administer the adrenaline auto-injector, if available. Follow DRSABCD and prepare to resuscitate if necessary.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Move the patient to lie down in a cool place with circulating air.
  • Loosen tight clothing and/or remove unnecessary garments.
  • Sponge the patient with cool water.
  • Give the conscious patient fluids to drink.
  • Seek medical attention if the patient vomits or does not recover quickly.


  • As soon as possible, hold the burnt area under cool running water for 20 minutes, for thermal, scalds, chemical, bitumen and electrical burns.
  • Remove jewellery and clothing from the burnt area unless stuck to the burn.
  • Prevent infection by covering the burn wound with a loose and light non-stick dressing, preferably clean, dry, lint free (non-fluffy) material e.g. plastic cling film.
  • DON’T break any blisters or apply any lotions or ointments.
  • Manage for shock.
  • If burn is bigger than a twenty cent piece – seek medical aid.


  • Follow DRSABCD
  • Call 000 for an ambulance.
  • Apply a broad crepe bandage over the bite site as soon as possible.
  • Apply a pressure bandage (heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandage) starting just above the fingers or toes of the bitten limb, and move upwards on the limb as far as can be reached (include the snake bite). Apply firmly without stopping blood supply to the limb.
  •  Immobilise the bandaged limb with splints and ensure the patient does not move.
  • DON’T cut the bitten area.
  • DON’T suck the venom out or wash venom off.
  • DON’T apply a tourniquet.
  • DON’T try to catch the snake

Preventing Snakebites:

  • Make lots of noise when walking in the bush.
  • Always wear shoes outside.
  • Don’t put your hands and feet where you can’t see what’s there.
  • Keep grass cut around your home.

Near Drowning

Never attempt a rescue beyond your capability.  Do not become a casualty yourself and remember all first aid starts with the St John DRSABCD Action Plan.

  • Remove the person from the water as soon as possible
  • Check pulse – if absent begin CPR immediately.
  • Call triple zero (000).
  • Always roll a drowning casualty on their side into recovery position to clear the airway. Call 000 for an ambulance.

The best solution is prevention:

  • Make sure your entire family can swim.
  • Always supervise children near water.
  • Never drink and swim.
  • Always swim between the flags.
  • Keep your first aid skills up-to-date by booking into a St John Ambulance First Aid refresher course.

Disclaimer: ©St John Ambulance Australia. This information is not a substitute for first aid training. St John Ambulance recommends that everyone is trained in first aid.   

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