First Aid Update — book your first aid course now so you are up to date with recent changes

Changes to Definition of First Aid & First Aid Provider

  • First Aid” is defined as the helping behaviours and initial care provided for an acute illness or injury.
  • A “First Aid Provider” is any person trained in first aid who should a) recognize, assess and prioritise the need for first aid; b) provide care by using appropriate competencies; c) recognize limitations and seek additional care when needed.

Significant Changes in First Aid

  • The role of passive leg raising for a conscious victim in shock – lying on their back – is no longer recommended.
  • The use of direct pressure over a wound is usually the fastest, easiest and most effective way to stop bleeding; an unsuccessful pressure dressing may be removed to allow a more direct pressure directly on the bleeding point.
  • Elevation of a bleeding part is no longer recommended.
  • The use of a second dose of adrenaline, using an autoinjector, for anaphylaxis is now recommended when a first dose fails to improve symptoms within 5 minutes.
  • Administering 300 mg (1 tablet – preferably dissolvable) of Aspirin is now recommendedfor victims with a suspected heart attack, and no longer only when directed to do so.

Book your first aid course now or call us on 0800 487 439

First Aid Training booking system upgrade!

We’ve made things easier for you and have upgraded our online first aid training booking system! Some of the improvements so far are:

  • Course reminders will be emailed 3 days prior to the course.
  • Automated First Aid Refresher reminders
  • Improved First Aid certificate delivery
  • Self-transfer of attendees to new course dates

If you need assistance with a first aid booking, please click here for detailed instructions or contact us on 0800 487 439 or

NZQA Unit Standards FAQ

First Aid – What you might be asking about the new unit standards

1. What are the requirements for workplace first aid training in New Zealand? Some workplaces have greater risks of injury and illness because of the work they do. Circumstances that can affect your training requirements include hazards like dangerous chemicals, machinery used, heights, number of employees and how far away you are from medical help. Think about how your workplace is covered for all shifts and prepare for absences. For guidelines refer to the Departments of Labour’s First Aid For Workplaces – A Good Practice Guide.

2. How do I know if an organisation advertising first aid training services is legitimate? First aid training towards a workplace first aid certificate must be done through an Education Organisation that is registered as a training provider with NZQA and has consent to assess first aid unit standards. A list of registered Education Organisations who can assess first aid standards is available at

3. What first aid courses currently being offered meet the minimum requirements for workplaces? Courses based on either unit standards 6400, 6401 and 6402, or their replacement unit standards, 26551 and 26552 represent the core skills and knowledge a workplace first aider should gain. The 6400 series of standards will expire in December 2015 and will no longer be available for Education Organisations to offer, though people holding these unit standards will remain trained first aiders and can attend refresher courses based on unit standards 26551 and 26552.

Where there are specific hazards in a workplace that are not adequately addressed through the minimum skills covered by 26551 and 26552, then a tailored course of training may be required. Employers should conduct a Workplace First Aid Needs Assessment to determine what skills and knowledge their employees need training in, over and above those covered in 26551 and 26552. The employer should then find an Education Organisation who is able to offer a tailored course that covers these additional skills.

4. I have noted that some Education Organisations are advertising first aid courses based on a combination of old and new NZQA first aid standards. I thought the new standards replaced the old ones? At present Education Organisations are permitted to offer courses based on any mix of first aid standards they feel meets a market need. However, employers and employees should be aware that a course based on 26551 and 26552 alone represents the core skills and knowledge a workplace first aider should gain. In some cases learners who are also attending first aid courses to gain credits for an industry qualification might be disadvantaged by attending a course based on a mixture of 6400 series standards and 26551 and 26552.

5. Training providers are offering courses of varying duration. What is the minimum length of course I need to attend? For courses based on unit standards 6400, 6401 and 6402 there must be a minimum of twelve (12) hours training and assessment. For courses based on unit standards 6401 and 6402 or 26551 and 26552 there must be a minimum of eight (8) hours training and assessment. For the practical components of these courses (e.g. CPR skills), the training and assessment must be done face-to-face between learner and assessor.

The theory or knowledge components of these courses can be completed using distance learning methods if desired. If distance learning methods are used then those components should be sufficiently resourced and instructionally designed to ensure valid learning and assessment outcomes. Minimum hours for training and assessment do not apply where assessment is being conducted as part of a formal Recognition of Current Competency Programme.

6. I completed my initial first aid training in Australia. Are Australian first aid courses recognised in New Zealand? Yes, Australian first aid qualifications are recognised in New Zealand. Under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (TTMRA) a person who is registered to practice an occupation under an Australian law is entitled, after giving notice to the local registration authority for the equivalent occupation, to be registered and to carry on the occupation pending registration.

This means that a first aid qualification gained in Australia can be deemed broadly comparable to one gained in New Zealand. To maintain currency in New Zealand, a person holding an Australian first aid certificate need only attend a biannual refresher course. This must be done within two years and three months of either the original course or the last refresher course.

If there is a specific First Aid Training question that you would like answered, please contact us by completing the form on the right, with your query and we’ll be in touch!

Links to Department of Labour and NZQA requirements and guidelines Department of Labour First Aid at Work – Factsheet

NZQA First Aid Training Requirements

Head Injuries

What is a Head Injury?

A head injury is any trauma that leads to injury of the scalp, skull, or brain. The injuries can range from a minor bump on the skull to serious brain injury.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms may be:

  • Loss of Consciousness, Confusion or Drowsiness
  • Blood or fluid from the nose or ears
  • Slurred Speech/Blurred Vision
  • Clumsiness or Lack of Coordination
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Unusual Behaviour

How to Help

  • CALL 111 immediately if the patient shows any of the above symptoms.
  • Control any bleeding.
  • You must always assume the neck/spine is injured in the case of a head injury and DO NOT move the person unless absolutely necessary.
  • Keep the patient warm and continue to reassure them.

This information is for reference only and comprehensive life saving skills can only be gained by attending a First Aid ChCh first aid course.

Heat Related Illnesses

HEAT CRAMPS are painful, brief muscle cramps that occur during exercise or work in a hot environment.Inadequate fluid intake often contributes to heat cramps.

The symptoms of HEAT RELATED EXHAUSTION may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse as a result of your body overheating.Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, strenuous physical activity and dehydration.

HEATSTROKE is the most severe form of heat illness and is life-threatening. Heatstroke can be brought on by high environmental temperatures, strenuous physical activity or by other conditions that raise your body temperature.Immediate medical attention is required.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms may be:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Thirst
  • Fainting
  • Cessation of Sweating
  • Confusion

How to Help

  • Move the patient to a cool shaded area and remove clothing.
  • Rehydrate the patient with as much water as possible.
  • Cool the body by fanning the patient or using ice packs if they’re available.
  • If the patient becomes unresponsive, CALL 111 immediately.
  • Check DRABC.

This information is for reference only and comprehensive life saving skills can only be gained by attending a First Aid Christchurch first aid course.

Spinal Injuries

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

A Spinal Cord Injury is always a medical emergency as it could lead to chronic painful conditions and permanent paralysis.Spinal cord injuries occur when a traumatic event (often a car, diving or sporting accident) results in damage to the spinal cord.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms may be:

  • Patient is lying with their head, neck or back in an awkward position
  • Severe pain in the head, neck or back
  • Weakness
  • Tingling or loss of sensation
  • Inability to move arms or legs
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness

How to Help

  • CALL 111 immediately.
  • Keep the patient absolutely immobile. DO NOT attempt to reposition the neck or allow the neck to bend or twist if you suspect a spinal injury.
  • Unless there is imminent danger or they need CPR, keep the patient in the position where they were found.
  • If the patient is unresponsive check DRABC
  • Don’t remove helmets unless you need to perform CPR.
  • Treat other life-threatening injuries while waiting for help to arrive.
  • Keep the patient warm and continue to reassure them.

This information is for reference only and comprehensive life saving skills can only be gained by attending a First Aid Christchurch first aid course.

Treating Wounds

An open wound is a type of physical trauma where in the skin is torn, cut or punctured.

How to Help

  • For your safety, avoid direct contact with blood, by using disposable gloves or plastic bags over your hands.Cover any cuts, wounds, or scratches on your own skin first.
  • Control the bleeding.
  • Clean the cut skin or wound (only if no further medical attention is required). Proper cleaning will help remove any foreign material and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Cover the wound with a clean bandage or dressing and apply direct pressure.
  • Immobilise the injured part.

If a Body Part is Amputated

  • CALL 111.
  • Control the bleeding.
  • Protect the amputated part by keeping it clean and dry.Place it in a plastic bag and keep it cool.
  • When calling for assistance advise them of the amputation.
  • Treat for Shock.

Impaled Objects

  • DO NOT remove an impaled object! Impaled objects create a puncture wound and puts pressure on the wound, controlling bleeding.

This information is for reference only and comprehensive life saving skills can only be gained by attending a First Aid Christchurch first aid course.

Frostbite & Hypothermia

What is Frostbite?

Frostbite is when the skin and/or the tissue under the skin freezes and causes cell damage. This is caused by exposure to cold. Your feet, hands, nose, ears and face are at the highest risk of frostbite. First degree frostbite, is also called Frost nip. The numbed skin turns white in colour and the skin may feel stiff to the touch.

How to Help

  • Rewarm the affected area by holding it with your hands, between your legs or under your armpits.
  • Rapid warming can be harmful so rewarm the affected areas gradually.

In cases of serious frostbite the skin is damaged and tissues die as a result of the freezing.

How to Help

  • CALL 111 immediately.
  • Move the patient to a warm area/room.
  • Warm the affected area.If possible, bathe in lukewarm (not hot) water.
  • Do not rub or massage the frostbitten area.

Hypothermia is a condition where the normal body temperature of 37°C drops below 35° and is usually caused by being in a cold environment or through prolonged exposure.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia may be:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow to Respond
  • Clumsy or Uncoordinated
  • Slurred Speech
  • Slow, shallow breathing and weak pulse
  • In severe cases – unconsciousness

How to Help

  • CALL 111 immediately.
  • Move the patient to a warm area/room.
  • Remove any wet clothing.
  • Warm the body with dry clothing, blankets etc.
  • If possible and only if uninjured, give them warm sweet drinks, sweets, chocolate etc.

This information is for reference only and comprehensive life saving skills can only be gained by attending a First Aid Christchurch first aid course.

Treating Burns

What is a Burn?

A burn injury is damage of the different layers of the skin.Heat generated from the fire or heat source and the amount of time the skin is exposed to the heat is what damages the skin.A burn injury is described as a first, second or third degree burn.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms may be:

  • Very Painful
  • Blistered Skin
  • Swollen Area
  • Redness
  • Charred Skin

How to Help

  • If the patient’s clothing is on fire – STOP, DROP, WRAP & ROLL.
  • Cool the burn area with cold water for at least 10 minutes.
  • If possible, remove any constrictive jewelry.
  • Cover the burn with a clean, dry bandage or cling film to prevent infection.
  • Do not use ointments or creams.
  • Get medical assistance or CALL 111.

This information is for reference only and comprehensive life saving skills can only be gained by attending a First Aid Christchurch first aid course.

Bruises, Sprains & Strains

A bruise is caused when tiny blood vessels are damaged or broken as the result of a bump to the skin and a bruise results from blood leaking from these injured blood vessels into the soft tissue.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament (the thick, tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones together).If too much force is applied to a ligament, they can be stretched or torn causing a sprain.

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Muscles are made to stretch, but if stretched too far, it may cause stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms may be:

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Too painful to use affected joint

How to Help

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Get medical advice if required.

This information is for reference only and comprehensive life saving skills can only be gained by attending a First Aid Christchurch first aid course.