• Open Access

Community Senior First Aid training in Western Australia: its extent and effect on knowledge and skills


Dr Dania Lynch, Discipline of Emergency Medicine, School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care, University of Western Australia, Level 2, R Block, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre, Nedlands, WA 6009. Fax: (08) 9346 1665; e-mail: dania.lynch@health.wa.gov.au


Objective: To define the extent of Senior First Aid training in a sample of the Western Australian community, and to evaluate the effect of previous training on first aid knowledge and skills.

Methods: A telephone survey of a random sample from suburban Perth and rural Western Australia; and practical assessment of first aid skills in a subsample of those surveyed.

Results: 30.4% of respondents had completed a Senior First Aid certificate. Trained individuals performed consistently better in theoretical tests (p=0.0001) and practical management of snakebite (p=0.021) than untrained. However, many volunteers, both trained and untrained, demonstrated poor skills in applying pressure immobilisation bandaging and splinting the limb adequately despite electing to do so in theory.

Conclusions and Implications: Overall knowledge and performance of first aid skills by the community are poor, but are improved by first aid training courses.