Australian Paramedics Association backs calls for mandatory first aid kits

From South Coast Registry, 16th January 2017.

Jessica McInerney


The Australian Paramedics Association (APA) has backed calls for first aid kits to be compulsory in cars.   

Lisa Elmas, the South Coast woman who was first on scene at the tragic Boxing Day crash, is petitioning NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey to make fire extinguishers and first aid kits mandatory at vehicle registration in NSW.

Ms Elmas believes there is a lack of emergency response tools available to motorists who arrive before emergency services at crashes.

“First aid kits wouldn’t be a problem,” APA NSW vice president Glenn Congram said.

“The two biggest things for safety are that everybody should be learning first aid and everybody should be carrying a first aid kit in their car.

“If there is a major bleed, put pressure on it. It’s always better to be first aid qualified, but anybody can use a first aid kit to hold a dressing on to stop some bleeding or blood spurting.”

Mr Congram said any assistance rendered by civilians allows paramedics to start major work on patients more quickly.

“The basics of first aid is what every paramedic starts with, although we have extra skills we never pass over the basics” he said.

“If the person is sitting slumped with their head forward in their car, tilt their head back. This opens the airway. Which means that instead of getting a patient in cardiac arrest we can concentrate on other things.”

Aside from accidents attended in his role as a paramedic along the South Coast, Mr Congram has been first on the scene at a number of car accidents.

“I always have an extensive first aid kit with me and I’d hate to think what would’ve happened if I didn’t,” he said.

“The Princes Highway here is notorious for car accidents so it would be helpful.

“But the one thing everyone has to remember is their own safety is paramount to start with.

“One of the greatest things you can do with any patient is talk calmly.”

Mr Congram declined to comment on calls for mandatory fire extinguishers.