St John Annual Cadet Competition

St John Annual Cadet Competition

13 January 2015

The annual St John Ambulance cadet competition was held in Darwin on Saturday and tested the First Aid skills of 27 young competitors from across Australia, including representation from St John SA.

The cadets, aged between 12 and 25-years-old, were placed in isolation at the start of the day while volunteers created three scenes of chaos in an empty school ground.


Photo: This volunteer received a fake head wound and broken arm sustained in quad bicycle accident.


"The competitors don't know what they'll be facing when they come out," said Kimberlee McKay, who created the event's staged medical emergencies.

"There's a combination of burns and impaled objects, bits of wood. Everything's a bit of a surprise."

St John Ambulance NT used volunteer actors and $3,500 worth of fake blood, prosthetics and makeup to re-create a boating explosion, car crash and quad bicycle accident.


Photo: This young volunteer held his stomach as he pretended to have been in a car crash. 


"The boat explosion is probably the most challenging, in the fact that we have a boat in the water," said Ms McKay.

"I tried to [make] sure things are a bit realistic and actually interesting for the cadets, as well as the people who are here to watch.

"Something that's somewhat realistic, but a bit fun."

Competitors were given 20 minutes each to attend to one emergency and needed to make split-second decisions about medical treatment while a team of judges watched on.

Luke McLaughlin from Darwin's Casuarina St John Ambulance division was the first cadet to attend to three people involved in a quad bicycle accident.

"My first thought was just to fix them up. That's the automatic thing that you do when you stop at an accident," he said.

"Your adrenaline takes hold and you're there to help."


Photo:  Mr McLaughlin said a god ambulance worker needs to "be able to handle the patients".


The 16-year-old high school student has been training as a paramedic cadet for the last four years and hopes his skills will go towards a medical career.

He said the scene featuring an overturned quad bike with actors' ongoing calls for help felt "very real".

"I walked on scene and was checking for danger," he said.

"I got a basic response from two of the casualties, but then I realised that one of them was unconscious.

"So I automatically went to them and checked for their airway and breathing.

"Then I went to the other patient who had a laceration to the head, an open upper fracture to the arm and a laceration to his chest."

Raymond Price was one of the people who volunteered for a long day of sitting around with a face full of red paint.

"I've got a twig in my well as burns to the hands and face," said Mr Price.

"I'll be rescued six times today, in exactly the same way every time.

"I think this is good for the kids. They get to practice something really real."

Photo:  "They've put a lot of effort into the makeup and all the different scenes" said Raymond Price, boating accident volunteer.

This annual competition teaches the young participants problem-solving skills, teamwork and quick thinking on their feet.

ABC News, 12 January 2014. Read more at;