Holidays, travel and outdoor fun can result in a range of injuries that require medical attention, and you should be prepared.

The first step to keeping you and your family safe is to learn first aid and have a first aid kit on hand.

You never know when you might need to treat a simple sprain or sting, or something more serious like a snake bite, burn or broken bone.

“Enjoying the great outdoors takes us out of our comfort zone,” says Red Cross first aid trainer Anthony Cameron. “If you find yourself, or someone else injured remember the basic principles of R-I-C-E-R”.

  • Rest – Don’t walk on, or use the injured area.
  • Ice – Apply ice indirectly to the injured area to reduce swelling and pain. If you don’t have any ice you can use frozen veggies wrapped in a dish towel. Never place ice directly on skin as it can damage the skin tissue over time, and don’t apply ice for longer than 20 minutes with breaks of about an hour between each ice pack.
  • Compression – Apply a firm compression bandage if available to stabilise and help the injured area.
  • Elevate and Refer – Elevate the affected limb if it doesn’t cause the person more pain, and seek medical advice.

“If you suspect a person has been bitten by a venomous snake call 000 immediately. Don’t apply a tourniquet to a snake bite, just apply firm pressure to the bite site and bandage from the extreme of the limb towards the body, covering the entire limb. You can mark the bite site on the surface of the bandage.

“If you believe someone has broken a bone, encourage the person to support the injury with their hand or some other cushioning item, and prevent unnecessary movement. Make sure the injured limb is supported until medical assistance arrives and don’t place any pressure on what you think is the fracture site.

“If a bone looks unnatural or dislocated do not try and put it back in place as you may cause further damage. This is a job for the hospital.

“To stop bleeding, apply pressure to the wound and use dressing pads from a first aid kit. Keep the injured person calm and still and keep the injured area elevated.”

To find out more about treating breaks and sprains, download the free Red Cross first aid mobile app through Google Play or the App Store.

Red Cross offers a wide range of first aid training and first aid kits.

To find a course near your or purchase a first aid kit go to or call 1300 367 428.

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