With school’s officially back in session for Term 3, St John Ambulance NSW is reconvening its First Aid in Schools program, and schools across the Coast are being encouraged to sign up.
The free program is offered to primary school children around Australia and is designed to equip them with basic first aid skills and knowhow.
From CPR, to cuts, burns and nosebleeds, the program is tailored to deliver vital first aid information in a format suitable for children, and is further broken down between year groups, with the ultimate goal to empower children to be able to act in the event of an emergency.
Ken Schneider is St John’s First Aid in Schools Educator for the Central Coast.
Over the past five years, he’s visited virtually every primary school in the Central Coast LGA, and has taught the program to over 10,000 children.
He is adamant that every child can benefit from the program and encourages interested parents and guardians to consider raising it with their school.
“All children should know the basics of first aid because you never know what the future will hold, and them having this knowledge could very well save a life,” Schneider said.
According to Schneider the program also puts a spotlight on one of the most glaring issues involving children in modern first aid, not knowing how to get help.
“The first thing we do with the kids is teach them how to make a proper emergency call.
“Most children know to call 000, but when you ask them what they need to do next, there’s usually a stunned silence.
“Kids don’t know that they need to ask for a specific service and they don’t know that they need to give the operator information about what has happened and where they are.
“This can be especially difficult for the younger kids, so we always teach them never to hang up and to talk to the operator who will try and determine where they are and what service they need.
“It seems really basic, but kids really don’t know how to properly report an emergency because no one ever tells them what to do,” Schneider explained.
After that introduction, which also includes an important discussion about never prank calling an emergency service, Schneider said the program deviates based on what the school has indicated they want students to be learning about, with some specialised programs on CPR, allergies and asthma complementing the general program.
But regardless of what program is being delivered, Schneider said parents could rest assured it would be fun, informative and action based to keep children engaged.
“Every educator has their own way of doing things, but we all make sure we’re scaling down the topics at hand to a child’s level of understanding.
“For me, that means lots of hands-on activities and lots of interaction, so the kids have fun,” Schneider said.
“I think empowering kids with this knowledge is one of the best things a school can do.
“That’s why I do it, because sometimes kids do end up in these situations and who knows, one day the life they save could be their own,” Schneider said.