When you live remotely providing first aid at an accident is not a matter of if you might be called upon, but rather when. Recently the Bourke Walgett School of Distance Education P&C Association raised funds to hold a free St John’s Ambulance NSW First Aid course for parents, teachers, supervisors, governesses and other community members associated with the school, filling an educational need everyone should try and have access too.

In 2016 a report by The Royal Flying Doctor Service showed that rates of injury and associated death are higher in country Australia than in major cities, with fatality rates for agricultural workers nine- times higher than any other industry. Also concerning is the rate of poisoning in isolated areas and the fact that children from very remote areas are 2.2 times more likely to be hospitalised for an injury than children in cities.

The St John’s Ambulance First Aid course is a vital service that provides basic training in the elements of first aid and is an initiative every community / individual should consider doing. Who knows when your help might be needed. During my time in the bush I’ve had to help people with head wounds caused by livestock, both of which required stitching, one at Moree and the other at Mungindi Hospital and there have been falls from bikes and horses, resulting in broken legs and fractures, cuts to hands and legs, mild burns as well as spider bites.

Things happen.

The leading cause of fatalities on farms involve tractors, light vehicles and quad bikes as well as aircraft. After that the most common incidents resulting in a fatality include falling from a horse or being hit or bitten by an animal (Safe work Australia).

In some situations there may be little that can be done however there are many cases where some basic first aid can make all the difference. Broken bones, fractures, cuts and sprains, head injuries, poisoning, animal, snake and spider bites, concussion, heart attacks and the need for resuscitation are among the injuries that can be helped with a little basic knowledge. First Aid education is invaluable.

The St John Ambulance Australia has been in existence for 130 years and is a self-funding, charitable organisation active in all States and Territories. It’s dedicated to helping people in sickness, distress, suffering or danger and is Australia’s leading supplier of first aid services and training.

The Order of St John has an amazing history and traces its origins back 900 years to the Knights Hospitaller from whom St John today derives its inspiration. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade, the organisation became a religious and military order charged with the care and defence of the Holy Land. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the knights operated from Rhodes (Castle at left) and later from Malta. From this crusader heritage they have risen to become a major international charity, whose organisations provide first aid, health care and support services in over 40 countries around the world.

You can read more about their extraordinary history here and for more information on St John’s Ambulance First Aid courses and organising a course in your area visit their website here.