Connecting the D.O.T.S in First Aid

Hey there! If you’re diving into the world of first aid, you’ve probably come across a bunch of acronyms designed to help us remember key steps and checks during an emergency. One acronym you might not be familiar with is DOTS. It’s not commonly used here in Australia, but it’s still good to know what it stands for. At our Toowoomba courses, we make sure you’re well-versed in all the essentials, including some of these less common terms, so you’re fully prepared for any situation.

What is DOTS in First Aid?

DOTS is a handy acronym used to remember important things to look for when assessing a casualty. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • D: Deformities
  • O: Open Wounds
  • T: Tenderness
  • S: Swelling
a kid clutches his wrist with a clear deformity and open wound


Deformities are any abnormal shapes or positions in the body, like a twisted limb or an unnatural bend. Spotting these can help you identify serious injuries like fractures or dislocations. When you’re checking someone over, look for anything that doesn’t seem quite right.

Open Wounds

Open wounds are breaks in the skin that can lead to bleeding and risk of infection. This includes cuts, lacerations, and abrasions. Knowing how to properly manage and treat open wounds is crucial, and we cover all this in our toowoomba training.


Tenderness means the casualty feels pain or discomfort when a certain area is touched. This can be a sign of underlying issues like fractures, sprains, or internal injuries. Gently feeling different parts of the body can help pinpoint these tender spots.


Swelling usually indicates inflammation or fluid buildup, which can happen with fractures, sprains, and other injuries. Keep an eye out for any unusual swelling, as it’s often a key indicator that something’s wrong.

Why DOTS Isn’t Commonly Used in Australia

Although DOTS is useful, it’s not the go-to acronym in Australian first aid training. After providing basic life support we have different methods. We call the process of checking someone over secondary assessment. You can learn more in our first aid guide

First Aid Training in Toowoomba

In our Toowoomba first aid courses, we ensure you get the best of both worlds—familiarity with local practices and a broad understanding of international ones. Even though DOTS isn’t a primary focus, we cover all the bases to make sure you’re fully prepared. Here’s what you can expect to learn:

  • Identifying and managing fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries.
  • Properly treating open wounds to prevent infection.
  • Recognizing signs of tenderness and swelling and knowing how to respond.
  • Hands-on practice to build your confidence and skills.


Learning first aid is all about being ready for whatever comes your way. While DOTS might not be a staple in Australian training, it’s still a valuable tool to have in your back pocket. At our Toowoomba first aid courses, we equip you with all the knowledge and skills you need, blending local techniques with global insights.

So, if you’re keen to be prepared and confident in handling emergencies, join us in Toowoomba. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to make a real difference when it counts. Stay safe and be ready!

Similar Posts