Most Australians support mandatory first aid training for high school students – Red Cross

Most Australians support mandatory first aid training for high school students – Red Cross

An overwhelming majority of Australians believe that first aid training should be mandatory for all high school students, a new study conducted by the Australian Red Cross has revealed.

The organisation surveyed a national representative sample of 1,013 respondents and found that 88% support compulsory first aid training in secondary schools, while 70% believe first aid knowledge should be a requirement when applying for a driver’s licence.

“In the schoolyard, on the sports field, at home, or out with friends, our experience tells us young people are often the first responders in emergency situations,” said Wendy Greenhalf, head of first aid and mental health training at Australian Red Cross. “We want our young people to be first aid champions, ready to step up and help out when there’s an emergency.”

“That’s where teaching first aid in high school could come into play,” she added. “Arming young people with the knowledge and skills to step up in an emergency could help reduce pain at the time of injury or long-term damage.”

However, the findings show a general reluctance among Australians to step in once the need arises because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A staggering 82% of respondents were concerned about contracting the virus while performing first aid, while 57% admitted they were unsure whether they would step in if faced with an emergency.

Data gathered by the Australian Red Cross reveal dire consequences resulting from non-intervention or ill-preparedness.

According to the organisation, about 260 children die and 58,000 are hospitalised each year due to unintentional injury across the country. This means that more Australian children die of injury than of cancer, asthma, and other infectious diseases combined.

It also found that when faced with emergency situations, 44% of young people panicked and 46% did not know what to do.

To address these, the Australian Red Cross is launching a free online first aid training session designed for students, teachers, parents, and caregivers. The session will be held on 11 September, in commemoration of World First Aid Day, and can also be accessed through video-sharing app TikTok.

Accredited Australian Red Cross first aid trainers will conduct the training, which will cover essential first aid skills, including treating burns, broken bones, head injuries, strains and sprains, asthma attacks, and severe allergic reactions.

Participants can also learn vital skills in dealing with potentially life-threatening emergencies such as choking, heart attacks, and swallowing harmful substances.

You never know when your first aid skills could help a friend, teammate, workmate, or a loved one in an emergency,” Greenhalf said.

Those who are interested to participate can register through Australian Red Cross’ official website.