It's Life or Death

It's Life or Death

01 November 2015

A CONFRONTING media campaign which shows a distressed mother unable to save her drowning son will hit television screens tonight sending a powerful message about the importance of basic first aid training.

The St John Ambulance “Break the Barrier” campaign depicts a mother rushing to the aid of her son in a backyard pool but she can’t break through the water because her lack of first-aid knowledge forms an invisible barrier preventing her from dragging him to safety.

The ad, a version of which will also be aired on radio, has been timed ahead of summer to remind parents of the tragic
consequences of complacency around backyard pools.

St John Ambulance SA chief executive Ray Creen said the organisation was not aiming to distress people but made “no apologies” for the “confronting” ad.

“Watching the ad is nothing compared to how devastated people are going to feel if they see a friend or a loved one collapse and they just can’t help them,” he said.

“What it depicts is a situation which is all too real and can have devastating consequences.”

The campaign, which was first launched in Western Australia last year and won critical acclaim from the advertising industry, was one of the most complained about ads on Australian television despite only being screened in WA.

But Mr Creen said awareness and watching children around pools was essential because it only takes a second to drown. He said 272 people drowned across Australia last year and most of them were young children who drowned in home pools.

“For every minute that you’re not breathing, your chance of survival drops by 10 per cent,” he said.

St John Ambulance offers courses varying in ability, inluding half a day of training which teaches the basics of opening an airway, resuscitation, dealing with an unconscious patient and bleeding.

“In a few hours we can teach you to save a life,” Mr Creen said. “In a day or two, we can teach people to deal with most first aid emergencies ...”

Up to 75 per cent of people don’t know what to do in an emergency, and, according to Mr Creen, most then panic, do the wrong thing or nothing at all.

“We’re really hoping it shocks people into realising the effects of not knowing what to do,” he said. The “Break the Barrier” campaign will launch on 7mate at 9.40pm.