St John Ambulance Australia is today acknowledging its littlest First Aid champions, celebrating teaching a record-breaking one million primary school students across the country in life-saving First Aid through its First Aid in Schools program.
One such First Aid champion is 10-year-old Callum Di Pietro, who completed his First Aid training only weeks before making a life-saving phone call after his mother suffered an anaphylactic shock. Callum saw his mother, Kendra, collapse onto the bathroom floor, fainting and hitting her head. By the time she regained consciousness, Callum had calmly called the ambulance. He helped Kendra to bed and put her in the recovery position while waiting for the paramedics.
She made a full recovery thanks to Callum’s quick thinking and is incredibly proud of Callum for his actions: “The paramedics that attended, and myself, have no doubt that if Callum hadn’t known what to do when I collapsed, the outcome for me would have been very different. He’s certainly a champion in our eyes.”
Since 2013, St John Ambulance’s First Aid in Schools program has taught children across the country basic First Aid skills at no cost to schools or parents. The program is made possible as a result of the support of St John’s generous donors, alongside public support through the purchase of St John services and products, including First Aid training and kits.
According to St John Ambulance Australia CEO Robert Hunt, emergencies can happen at any time and in any place. “It’s well documented by the medical profession that being able to respond within the first five minutes of an emergency happening can greatly increase the patient’s chances of survival and recovery, which is why learning First Aid is so important. Callum’s story and the stories of so many of our other First Aid champions is testament to the fact that First Aid saves lives,” he said.
The nation’s largest First Aid training provider believes teaching essential First Aid knowledge to children early will enable them to grow their skills over time and seed this life-saving knowledge to future generations.
Children who complete First Aid in Schools are taught to recognise an emergency, correctly dial 000 and provide the right information to ambulance operators. Having the confidence to take these simple steps within seconds of an emergency happening can make the difference between life and death.
Older children (from 11-years old) also learn to perform CPR in the event of a cardiac arrest. Hunt said teaching First Aid to primary school students is an organisational priority: “We’re incredibly proud to have trained one million children in First Aid – that’s one million children out there that know what to do in an emergency and are ready to put these invaluable skills into action.
“At a time when Australian sporting champions are gracing our television screens, we’re honouring our First Aid champions. We hear stories every year of incredibly brave primary school students that have used the skills they’ve learnt in the First Aid in Schools program and saved a life without hesitation.
“That’s what this program is really about. It goes beyond remembering ‘DRSABCD’ – it’s about teaching the importance of a human life and giving the students the skills and the courage they need to ensure that someone in trouble gets the help they need.”
First Aid in Schools advocate and champion swimmer Susie O’Neill, is joining students at Port Melbourne Primary School to celebrate the milestone and award First Aid medals to the latest class of students to complete their training. O’Neill said she was thrilled to be helping St John celebrate such an incredible milestone. “First Aid training can very easily fall in the ‘I must do that’ basket. It’s admirable that St John is equipping primary school students with these skills and building their confidence to act in an emergency.”
The milestone comes as the organisation announces an aspirational goal to train every primary school student across the country in First Aid by 2020, in the name of building community resilience.
St John is calling on the public to help them achieve this goal – it costs just $10 to train a primary school child in basic First Aid skills which they will have for life. To donate, visit www.stjohn.org.au/donate
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