Vital Advice on Treating Australian Snake Bites


Knowing exactly how to provide first aid treatment for an unexpected snake bite today can help you to save someone’s life tomorrow (possibly your own). The vital, life-saving skill of applying snake bite first aid isn’t difficult to master. It simply requires you to be prepared. Your best option is to complete a nationally recognised first aid course. In the meantime, let’s get you instantly ready for a sudden snake bite:

Australia’s Dangerous Wildlife

Australia is filled with a huge variety of beautiful but dangerous wildlife – we share our space with the top three most venomous snakes in the world! Our country is home to around 100 venomous snakes including the Red-bellied black snake, Eastern and Western brown snakes, and Tiger snake. If you meet one of these guys you need to know how to react! Even if you find a snake that is apparently not venomous, never assume it is harmless.

As the weather grows warmer, many Australian snakes cease brumating (waking up from a long period of winter hibernation) and become more active in suburban and rural environments. For example, the common Red-bellied black snake is often found exploring residential areas in coastal New South Wales. 

Although snake bites are rare and can often be avoided, it’s important you know the facts and how to apply bite treatment if you are unfortunately bitten by a startled or aggressive snake.

Australian Snake Bites: The Facts

There are over 3,000 reported snake bites in Australia every year (Royal Flying Doctor Service), but the number of nationwide fatalities is only 2-4 on average annually. The majority of bites are reported to occur on the upper and lower limbs and – rather interestingly – most bite victims are men in their 30s… This should put things in perspective, as learning how to treat a bite could have the very real advantage of saving one of your mates!

VITAL TIP: When in the Aussie bush, ALWAYS carry a Pressure Immobilisation bandage ($6 on average) on/near you. This could be the difference between a life saved and a life lost.

Australian Snake Bites: The Symptoms to Spot

If you’re walking, hiking, gardening or generally living in Australia, you should complete a first aid training course and familiarise yourself with the symptoms of a snake bite:

  • Visible puncture wound / fang hole (don’t wash it!)
  • Pain, swelling or redness around wound (watch if it spreads)
  • Breathing difficulty (keep victim calm)
  • Numbness
  • Sweating and salivating
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sometimes there are no symptoms – still seek help.

What to do if you’re bitten by a snake?

If you, or someone in your group, has a suspected snake bite, you need to utilise first aid immediately. In order of priority:

  • STAY CALM: limit blood flow and increased stress circulating the venom
  • CRITICAL: firmly secure the wound with a Pressure Immobilisation bandage and immobilise the limb with a splint
  • Call the Emergency Service on 000
  • Don’t wash the bite site or suck out the venom
  • If the patient loses consciousness and stops breathing, start CPR immediately (training available)
  • OPTIONAL: recall any visual marks of the snake to identify the anti-venom needed.

Remember to respect our snakes

Would you know how to act when encountering a wild snake on a bush walk or at your home? Simply act like a tree – stand still.

Although snakes can present a danger to us, they are still a valued part of our natural environment and shouldn’t be unnecessarily harmed, such as deliberately driving a car over a roadside snake. If you spot a snake on your walking path – stand completely still like a tree. Interactions with snakes are rare, as they’re not great fans of human company and tend to avoid us! Avoid walking through leaf litter and thick bush in the warm months,stick to worn paths, walk calmly, and stay alert for any rustling. You’ll usually find it’s just a lizard!

Remember: Treating a snake bite is a simple case of managing the emergency situation in a calm, professional and well-practiced manner. Taking Vital First Aid’s nationally recognised first aid course will teach you the valuable knowledge needed to potentially save a life.

Pool Drownings: Protect your Children Against the Silent Killer

floating device in pool

As temperatures hike in the Australian summer, unfortunately so can the rate of drownings – especially for children in pool areas. Poor poolside safety combined with a lack of basic CPR knowledge has the potential to turn a beautiful summer’s day into an absolute tragedy. The saddest part of this is that most drownings are preventable.

Be proactive this season. There are nationally accredited first aid training courses readily available across New South Wales, featuring life-saving lessons for emergency situations, such as how to perform child CPR. Right now it’s within your power to spend a small amount of time learning the vital first aid and CPR skills needed to save a drowning person’s life, or prevent the situation altogether!


If you have a pool at your property you are in a very important position. It is your responsibility to ensure the pool area is secure and safe for young children, constantly acting as the unofficial umpire of the pool!

To safety-proof your pool for the swimming season, adult supervisors should:

  1. Check pool gates automatically close – never prop gates open!
  2. Check all surrounding fences are secure
  3. Ensure all outdoor furniture is a minimum of 1 metre away from the pool fence
  4. Scan to see if any item could be used by a child to climb over the pool fence– kids are crafty!


Child drownings are horrific events and are generally preventable, making the whole situation even more soul-destroying. If you are a parent, grandparent, older sibling, aunty, uncle, babysitter or family friend – we recommend you take safety into your own hands by the poolside, wherever possible. 

ALWAYS supervise children in a pool area and follow these vital safety steps:

  • Never assume someone else is watching your children – it’s on you
  • Show kids how to hold on to the pool edge when swimming to access a step to safety
  • Don’t sit there on your smartphone – it’s a proven life-threatening distraction!
  • Alcohol and pools don’t mix – the supervisor should never be under the influence of any substance
  • Never assume a crowded pool is a safe pool – drownings are just as common in this busy environment
  • Maintain visibility of the pool, as you won’t hear someone drowning – it’s silent.

As a parent or guardian, you can boost your children’s awareness of safe swimming by getting them in the water as young as possible. And as an adult, you can also boost the chances of saving their life (or the life of another child) by learning CPR techniques through our nationally recognised CPR course, or by completing a first aid delivery course. Refreshing your CPR knowledge isn’t so much a heroic thing to do, but a stupid thing not to do!


Do not attend any courses if you are required to be Self-Isolating as per NSW Dept of Health or have any cold / flu symptoms

As COVID 19 has rapidly changing effects on our community, please refer to NSW Health for the most up to date and accurate information Covid 19 update

As at 20th July 2022 it is a recommendation to wear masks whilst attending our courses

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