Ambulance Service of New South Wales
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First Aid

Knowing what to do in the first few minutes of a medical emergency can save a life or prevent serious injury, particularly in the case of a cardiac arrest.

First aid and CPR training

We recommend that every person learn basic first aid and CPR. Look under ‘first aid supplies and instruction' in your local telephone directory, google first aid courses or contact WorkCover NSW to ensure you learn from a accredited organisation.

First aid resources

We have developed a CPR Chart that we recommend you download and put in a prominent position in your home and place of work. Short animations that demonstrate each step of the CPR process are available on our CPR page.

A number of first aid and safety fact sheets have also been developed to keep you safe and provide basic first aid advice.

Signs and symptoms of common medical conditions




  • Weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or unexplained falls
  • Loss of vision, sudden blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes
  • Headache, usually severe and of abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
  • Difficulty swallowing

For more information visit the National Stroke Foundation website or telephone 1800 787 653


Chest pain


  • Any unusual tightness or pain in the chest such as crushing pain or stabbing pain
  • May also have accompanying radiating pain into the neck, jaw, back or arms
  • Anxious feeling or fast or slow heart beat
  • Trouble breathing or frothy spit
  • Pale or grey skin tone or sweating
  • Feeling unwell or nauseous
  • An urgent desire to go to the toilet and open the bowel

For more information you can visit the Heart Foundation website or telephone 1300 36 27 87


Asthma or shortness of breath


  • Trouble breathing which can lead to no breathing (gasping for air)
  • Noisy breathing or wheezing and coughing
  • Only able to speak short sentences or single words before becoming breathless
  • Lips turning blue
  • Appears tired and lethargic
  • Pale skin tone
  • Cold or sweaty
  • Anxious feeling

For more information you can visit the Asthma Foundation NSW website or telephone 1800 278 462




  • Light headedness or dizziness
  • Trouble standing
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Blurred vision or black spots
  • Ringing sound in the ears
  • Feeling nauseous

Diabetic attack

Low blood sugar level (symptoms occur within several minutes)

  • Trouble talking and irrational behaviour
  • Appears intoxicated
  • Confused or disorientated
  • Feeling sleepy and/or weak


High blood sugar level(symptoms occur over days)

  • Flushed hot skin
  • Extreme thirst
  • Constant need to urinate
  • Restlessness
  • Breath may smell like nail polish remover (acetone)

For more information visit the Diabetes Australia website or telephone 1300 136 588

090422first aid The two girls pictured above helped save their baby sister's life after she stopped breathing. While their mother was performing CPR they called Triple Zero (000) and relayed important information to the ambulance operations centre.