ST John Ambulance (SJA) WA launched a program to teach 15,000 WA children under eight years old emergency management skills in Wanneroo today.
Backed by surgeon Fiona Wood, the SJA Early Childhood Program aims to teach pre-school and kindergarten students how to identify an emergency, assess potential danger and call triple zero if needed.
The free in-school program was launched at the City of Wanneroo Library, where Dr Wood read 000 Hero – a book introducing children to St John Ambulance and the work of paramedics – to about 40 children and parents.
SJA youth and community engagement manager Jae Smith said the program, scheduled to start next month, would teach children basic emergency first aid skills and provide a foundation to learn more techniques.
“The Early Childhood Program is about engaging with young children and educating them about first aid so that they know what to do in an emergency,” Ms Smith said.
“The program is linked to the WA curriculum and is designed to engage at an age-appropriate level.
“We don’t ever want children to see an ambulance as something to be afraid of, which is why it’s important to introduce them to St John Ambulance at a young age and teach them about the work of paramedics.
“As children get older they’re likely to participate in more advanced St John Ambulance programs.”
Dr Wood, who is a mother of six and former Australian of the Year, said that while young children may not always be capable of administering first aid treatments, they could still save a life.
“There have been many instances where a child has helped someone after an accident or injury because they’ve been taught how to dial triple zero,” she said.
A St John Ambulance early childhood educator will visit kindergarten and pre-school classrooms to deliver the program, read 000 Hero and talk to students about the role of paramedics and ambulance vehicles.
The 45-minute programs are part of SJA’s free First Aid Focus program, which has taught 600,000 WA primary and high school students basic first aid skills since 2008.
The launch at the City of Wanneroo Library included giveaways, an ambulance display and a visit from St John Ambulance’s mascot Kura.
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