20 May 2015

More than 30,000 South Australian school children are now equipped with vital first aid skills that could help them save a life, thanks to St John Ambulance SA.


The State’s leading provider of first aid services launched the no cost ‘First Aid in Schools’ program in 2013 and will be celebrating its third anniversary in June.


The key aim of the program is to equip children with the skills, knowledge and confidence to respond in an emergency, whether it is at home, at school or in public.


St John Youth Development Officer, Melissa Oudshoorn believes the First Aid in Schools program is extremely beneficial and teaching first aid from a young age is education worth investing in.


“We’ve been delighted with the community’s keen response to the First Aid in Schools program - it has proved to be hugely popular with bookings filling out months in advance.


“It is great to know that in less than three years we’ve given 30,000 SA kids a head start in helping to save lives,” she said.
According to Ms Oudshoorn, while the 30,000th trainee milestone is a major achievement, there is even more scope to train more students with funding support.


“At the moment St John carries the cost of the program internally, but with just a small amount of funding support we could potentially train thousands more South Australian students,” she said.


“There’s no better place to introduce first aid than at primary schools where interactive training instils the skills and confidence to respond to an emergency, even starting with teaching our very youngest children how to unlock a mobile phone and dial 000.


The First Aid in Schools program delivers tailored and age appropriate training to suit the year level.


“Accidents and emergencies can happen anywhere and are always unexpected; you never know where and when you will need first aid skills. Not knowing how to respond in an emergency situation can unfortunately sometimes be the difference between a life lost and a life saved,” said Ms Oudshoorn.


Initially the First Aid in Schools program, developed by St John, concentrated on schools in Adelaide metropolitan areas, but with such a remarkable uptake, the organisation extended the training to include school children in regional areas including the Adelaide Hills, Port Augusta, Whyalla, the Yorke Peninsula and the Murray Mallee.


“One of St John’s wider goals is to see at least one person in every South Australian household first aid trained. We are hoping to continue to train even more school children, classes and regions across South Australia to help achieve this,” said Ms Oudshoorn.


“We’d love to partner with businesses and individuals to make that happen.”


For information and to book the First Aid in Schools program, visit the St John SA website

Photo: Trainer Tom teaches the 30,000th student at Westbourne Park Primary.