First Aid

In your role as a volunteer you have a duty of care to provide  safe working environment, for yourself, other volunteers and the farmers we assist. This includes being aware of first aid arrangements and being alert to incidents or accidents and to act swiftly if they arise.

Location of First Aid Equipment

You will need to:

  • Know where the first aid kits are.
  • Ensure farmers and group trip supervisors are aware of your medical needs and allergies (e.g. insects, food etc.). NOTE This must be done prior to the trip.
  • If you need an EPI pen, you will need to bring this yourself and for group trips, put into the first aid kit.
  • It is important to use antiseptic on any skin lesions (such as blisters , cuts , grazes etc) and insure correct management is carried out.
  • Ensure that if you are a asthma sufferer, you have your medication  at all times and be aware of what to do if an asthma attack is triggered.
  • Read safety information in your ‘Volunteer Placement Pack’ about snakes, spiders, heatstroke and hypothermia.
  • Report any incidents or injuries using the Incident Report Form.

Snake Bites

Australia has no shortage of highly venomous snakes and they can vary hugely in look – even with in the same species of snake. It pays to know what are the most common varieties in the area you are visiting. You need to act very quickly to help the patient but also try and identify the snake which has bitten.

Recognise:

  • Signs of severe poisoning include shock, coma and paralysis.
  • Signs od moderate poisoning include tingling, nausea and vomiting.

Action:

  • Call 000 – this may be a life threatening situation.
  • Apply a pressure immobilsing bandage over the whole limb and mark the spot of the bite on the bandage.
  • Keep the bittern part lower than the heart and don’t allow the patient to walk or talk unless absolutely necessary.
  • Keep the person as calm as possible.

Spider Bites

The  spider which is likely to be of most concern is a funnel web spider but many other spiders such a red backs and white tips cause  moderate to extreme pain. However if the person affected is a child or person with other conditions such as heart there can be major cause for concern.

Recognise:

  • Symptoms may vary but generally will include marks, redness and pain at the bite site.

Action:

  • Call 000 – this may be a life threatening situation.
  • Do not clean the site so a sample of the venom can be taken and the spider identified unless you have positively identified the spider and the venom has flesh eating properties such as a white tip spider.
  • Apply a pressure immobilsing bandage over the whole limb and mark the spot of the bite on the bandage if the bite is a funnel web spider.
  • Apply  a wrapped icepack if the bite is a red back spider.

Heat Stroke

It is always better to prevent getting into a situation which leads to heat stroke. However, if you see a person with symptoms of heat stroke, please take immediate action.

Recognise:

The persons skin may be hot or red, it can also be dry or moist. They may experience changes in consciousness, vomiting and a high body temperature. Heat exhaustion can have similar symptoms and involves the loss of fluid through heavy sweating due to strenuous exercise in hot conditions. In heat stroke, the body is unable to cool itself as the bodies temperature control system ceases to function.

Action:

  • Call 000– this is a life threatening situation.
  • Get the person in the shade or a cooler place, remove and loosen clothing.
  • Apply wrapped icepacks to the armpits, back of the neck and groin area but be careful of over cooling.
  • Watch for changes in their condition.

Hypothermia

It is always better to prevent getting into a situation which leads to Hypothermia. However, if you see a person with symptoms of Hypothermia, please take immediate action.

Recognise:

The person may be shivering, pale and cold to touch, they may also be disorientated and too cold to shiver. Their breathing rate may slow and their body temperature will be below 35 degrees Celsius.

Action:

  • Call 000– this is a life threatening situation.
  • If they are outside bring them inside or find shelter.
  • Warm them slowly by wrapping them in a blanket and giving them warm drinks and high energy foods.

 

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