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First aid - an investment in safety

Thursday September 8, 2005

World First Aid Day - 10 September, 2005

The International Red Cross estimates that every year, tens of millions of lives are saved all over the world by first aid techniques applied by family members, neighbours and bystanders to victims of accidents of disasters.

This year, as the global Red Cross Movement celebrates World First Aid Day (September 10), Australian Red Cross is urging mothers across the country to make an investment in their children's safety and to sign up for a Red Cross First Aid Course.

Every year hundreds of Australian children die as a result of car accidents, accidental drowning, falls, household poisoning or suffocation due to choking or asthma. Many of these tragic deaths could be prevented.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, between 1998 and 2002 some 303 Australian kids younger than 14 died as a result of accidental drowning, whilst a further 160 were killed by other accidental threats to breathing, such as suffocation or asthma attack.

Some of these lives could have been saved if there was someone at hand with first aid training. Yet only 20 per cent of the 80,000 people who completed a Red Cross First Aid Course during 2004 - 2005 were young women, and only a fraction of these were mothers with young children.

'Mums are still often the main caregiver in Australia,' explains Robert Tickner, CEO of Australian Red Cross. 'They're the ones who might have to respond to a serious accident.'

A Red Cross Level 1 Basic First Aid Course teaches participants important skills that could enable them to save a life and minimise the severity of injury or sudden illness. People are taught how to deliver CPR, how to respond to breathing emergencies, how to treat household poisoning, and how to care for and bandage cuts and other household injuries.

'Australian Red Cross runs first aid courses all over the country,' says Mr Tickner, 'They're affordable, convenient, interesting, but above all, invaluable.

'This isn't about trying to give people a fright. It's about urging everyone to make sure they are prepared for worst case scenarios.'

Since 1863 the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has committed itself, as a humanitarian organisation, to protect and save lives. First aid is an expression of those values and principles, taking a holistic approach to meet the physical, social and psychological needs of the injured.

Australian Red Cross First Aid, Health and Safety Services offer a number of first aid courses, for a variety of purposes. For further information or to enrol in a course, please call 1300 367 428 or visit the First Aid section of the website (link below).