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An Analysis of Demand for First-Aid Care at a Major Public Event

  • Arthas Flabouris (a1) and Franklin Bridgewater (a2)

First aid is the initial care of the ill or injured. It aims to preserve and protect life, prevent further injury or deterioration of illness, and help promote recovery. At major public events, there is a large gathering of people, physical spectacles, and equipment within a concentrated area, where organized first-aid care is provided.


To analyze the demand for primary medical care at a public event by identifying the patients and initial symptoms that may predict that demand, and to use such information to improve the efficiency and delivery of medical care.


A questionnaire was completed by St. John Operations Branch personnel after each patient consultation and a retrospective analysis of the data was conducted.


A total of 1,276 questionnaires were returned. Mean patient presentation rate (PPR) was 1.9±0.47 per 1,000 show attendees. This correlated best with the maximum daily temperature (r = 0.715, p <0.02) and show day (r = 0.615, p <0.05). There was poor correlation with daily attendance (r = −0.235, p >0.54). Mean presentation time was 15:13 h. Of those whose gender was recorded, 58.4% were females, and 41.6% were males. The most frequent age group was 13 to 20 years. The nature and number of initial symptoms are listed. Basic first-aid skills were used for 96.7% of symptoms; 2.4% of patients were referred to the hospital.


Temperature and show day significantly contributed to variability of PPR. These factors, together with an estimated PPR and predicted attendance, can be used to forecast demand. Most cases required only basic first-aid skills. Guidelines are suggested for management by nonmedical personnel. A medical officer's role is not reliably defined, but involvement in consultation is suggested.

Corresponding author
St. John Ambulance Australia South Australia Inc., St. John House, 216 Greenhill Rd., Eastwood South Australia 5063
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Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
  • ISSN: 1049-023X
  • EISSN: 1945-1938
  • URL: /core/journals/prehospital-and-disaster-medicine
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