Spike in domestic injuries sparks Easter DIY warning

Staying safe at home: St John Area Manager Blaise Rego and paramedic Trent Kay.
Staying safe at home: St John Area Manager Blaise Rego and paramedic Trent Kay.

St John WA is urging West Australians to exercise caution when tackling home DIY projects this Easter, with new data revealing an alarming trend in domestic trauma over the long weekend.

Domestic trauma cases - often resulting from a home DIY mishap - have risen 39 per cent over Easter between 2014 and 2018 as more people look to use the holiday period to complete odd jobs around the house.

Last Easter, paramedics responded to 221 emergency calls for domestic trauma - 31 more than same period in 2017 and 62 more than in 2014. Most incidents (179) happened in the metropolitan area, however, regional paramedics were also kept busy responding to 42 calls.

St John Area Manager Blaise Rego said the upward trend in domestic trauma over Easter showed some people were still not heeding safety advice.

"We traditionally see a large number of domestic trauma incidents over Easter because the long weekend is a perfect opportunity to tackle projects around the house," Mr Rego said.

"In the past we've urged people to be cautious when undertaking such projects but the data suggests this message needs reinforcing as we're seeing the numbers continue to rise.

"In fact, last year St John responded to more emergency calls for domestic trauma than alcohol intoxication, motor vehicle accidents and sporting injuries combined.

"Accidents and injuries around the home are always more prevalent on weekends, but the four-day Easter break allows people to complete those bigger projects and that's where the more serious accidents tend to happen."

Mr Rego said common domestic trauma injuries involved power tools, falls from ladders or rooves, and in some cases electrocution. He urged people to know their limitations and always use appropriate safety gear.

"Domestic trauma is a broad category and not all incidents are the result of a DIY mishap. However, paramedics certainly see more than their share of injuries caused by power tools, falls and electric shock," he said.

"We'd ask anyone undertaking projects around the house this Easter to make sure they have the appropriate skills and equipment to do the job safely.

"This means not attempting jobs that should be done by qualified professionals as serious injuries can happen if things go wrong.

"No one wants to spend the long weekend in hospital and by exercising a bit of restraint and common sense hopefully we can reverse the trend of domestic trauma incidents this Easter. 

"For more minor injuries, it's a good idea to have a first-aid kit handy and to make sure your first-aid training is up to date."