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first aid sign

Universal First Aid Signs

first aid sign

First Aid Sign

In the world we live in, it’s good to know what the universal signs of first aid are, so that we can at least familiarise ourselves with the local safety signs and protocols.

Did you know that in Australia, if you call 911 in an emergency, it will go through to the 000 emergency responders

It is good to know where your nearest emergency department is and that you have the correct medical insurance for your destination and your current health conditions.


You should always pack a first aid kit. It only needs to be simple. When you’ve finished reading this article, head on over to our first aid kit post and take a copy of our list.

A lot of first aid equipment and signage is needed in workplaces, as it is mandated by Safe Work Australia and OHS regulations.

It’s important that signage should be accessible for the follow workplaces:

First aid and danger signage should be made available in all workplaces, regardless of the risks involved in the work, however high risk workplaces will have more or different signs.

Workplace Medical Emergencies

In particular, we’re talking about workplaces that:

  • Involve working in extreme hot and cold areas
  • Use dangerous machinery like chainsaws, power presses, etc
  • Perform dangerous forms of work like welding, electrical work, demolition
  • Present a higher risk of falls and construction injuries
  • Any chemical manufacturers
  • Laboratories of all kinds
  • All food manufacturers 

Regardless of where in the world we are, the human body remains the same even if the first aid training in a different country may be different. We know our first aid training in Australia is amongst the best in the world, so whether you happen to be in Fiji, India, UK or Africa, the first aid you administer will still be more than sufficient and even save a life.First aid training may not be mandatory in workplaces abroad therefore you may find yourself in a situation where you are the only first aider, so knowing what to do is so important. 

first aid flag

Universal First Aid Signs

There are two universally recognised signs for first aid. The first is a symmetrical red cross on a white background. This stems from a Swiss humanitarian, Henry Dunant, who inspired the red cross; it is a portrayal of the inverse Swiss flag. The other universal sign for hospitals is the white cross on a green background. Either one would be clearly recognised the world over.

universal medical sign

Medical Emergency Help

The next universal first aid symbol you may recognise from the abundance of American medical dramas (don’t get me wrong, we love them too!) actually has two versions that are used depending on preference: One of them is The Rod of Asclepius. This is an ancient Greek symbol associated with medicine, consisting of a serpent coiled around a rod. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing. The next one is Caduceus of Hermes, this is the symbol of two serpents intertwined around a staff with wings at the top. See the two versions above.

defib sign


When you come across a casualty that is not breathing or all else fails, we need to know how to use an AED (Automated external defibrillator). The most common universal sign of a defibrillator is the sign above.


There is an international committee named International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation. There are 7 areas involved in this committee, Canada, USA, South America, Europe, South Africa, Australasia and Asia. 


International CPR

All seven councils of ILCOR support a global initiative to increase awareness about the importance of bystander CPR and to also increase actual bystander CPR rates worldwide. Having access to these defibrillators and making them clearly visible is an essential part of improving the survival rates of members of the public going into cardiac arrest.



Hospital sign

Above is the most recognised sign for a hospital, however this may also display a blue background and may only display the white cross. 

A Medical Emergency Abroad

Please remember to take a first aid course before you travel anywhere, you never know when you could be the person to actually save a life. The value of a first aid course cant be underestimated. A few hours out of your life every 3 years!

View our classes for your workplace today.


Want more? We’ve got you covered…


Our Baby First Aid Courses

Our baby first aid courses are available in person in your home and online. We run classes in your home with groups of 2, 4 or up to 10 in Sydney & Melbourne and you can book in 3 easy steps!

  1. Pick your class
  2. Follow the prompts to purchase
  3. We will contact you within 24 hours to lock in your date of choice

Our First Aid Certificate Courses

We run most of the popular first aid courses Australia wide. HLTAID011 Provide First AidHLTAID009 Provide CPRHLTAID012 Provide First Aid in an Education & Care SettingRAMOAP (anaphylaxis)Mental Health first aid and CPR/LVR to name a few.

Book your public spot online or contact us if you have a group of 5+ people for onsite training.

Here are some other resources you may enjoy!

FREE GUIDE: Your Virtual Baby First Aid Kit

FREE GUIDE: Introducing Common Allergy Foods & Allergic Reactions

FREE Workplace Emergency Preparedness Plan: Grab this at the bottom of every page!

Follow for baby & child first aid and allergy info and tips on InstagramTikTok & Facebook all @thenestcpr