First aid: Never too young to learn

YEARS 7 and 8 students at Mt Erin Secondary College are among the 67,000 children St John Ambulance Victoria hopes to train in first aid this year.

The organisation launched its free First Aid in Schools program last year and, with the help of corporate sponsors, has set a long-term goal of teaching the valuable skill to 200,000 primary school children across Victoria every year.

The program is presented in three modules for children in prep-grade 2, grades 3-4, and students in years 7-8.

Depending on the age group, skills taught range from making an emergency call, to CPR and bandaging.

So far, 15,000 students are lined up to be trained this term. St John is inviting schools in metropolitan and regional areas to register for the First Aid in Schools program and hopes to train 67,000 children this year. 

St John chief executive officer Stephen Horton said while thousands of people were injured each year by accidents in the home, a staggering 94 per cent would not know what to do in an emergency.

"Statistics show that the majority of accidents happen at home but less than a third of households have someone who has recently been first-aid trained. There's obviously a big gap here and St John believes there is no better place to start bridging this gap than at school," Mr Horton said. 

"St John believes teaching first aid from a young age will give children the skills and confidence to respond if called upon."

Schools wanting to be part of the First Aid in Schools program can go to stjohnvic.com.au. Businesses or individuals wanting to help fund the program can call St John on 8588 8300.

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