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St John Ambulance brings First aid and CPR courses to Parkes

READY TO TEACH: From Friday, first aid and CPR courses - once a month at this stage - will be running out of the Parkes Services Club with facilitator Kevin Arklay. Photo: Christine Little

READY TO TEACH: From Friday, first aid and CPR courses - once a month at this stage - will be running out of the Parkes Services Club with facilitator Kevin Arklay. Photo: Christine Little

Parkes Shire residents would usually have to travel to Dubbo to learn CPR or first aid but as of Friday, that is no more.

St John Ambulance NSW has found a new venue in town to conduct its courses.

From Friday, St John Ambulance will run its first course out of the Parkes Services Club with facilitator Kevin Arklay, who comes from Bathurst.

While St John Ambulance provides a range of courses, at this stage the courses in Parkes will focus on CPR and first aid, and will run monthly.

But as numbers grow Mr Arklay is hopeful there will be more on offer, and that the courses will become fortnightly and eventually weekly.

He said he hopes the new venue will help encourage Parkes residents to learn first aid, including life-saving techniques such as CPR, as well as how to use equipment like a defibrillator.

It also provides a great opportunity for Parkes' workplaces and groups.

"Rather than the customer coming to us, we're bringing the courses to the people," Mr Arklay said.

According to a study conducted in 2017, only five per cent of Australians are first aid trained. This is one of the lowest rates in the world.

Mr Arklay has been facilitating full time for 10 years and has been a volunteer with St John Ambulance for 36 years.

"I enjoy seeing people learning and that they are taking away a life-saving skill, I enjoy helping people save lives," he said.

When the opportunity arose to teach, Mr Arklay didn't give it a second thought.

St John Ambulance NSW offer basic, advanced and online first aid training, making it incredibly easy to become accredited with a course that suits people's needs.

It also covers mental health training, remote first aid and first aid training in schools.

The whole goal? To have a person in every household trained in first aid.

"We can also now do courses over Zoom - Covid has opened a whole heap of opportunities," Mr Arklay said.

To book into a course or to find out more, please visit www.stjohnnsw.com.au or call 1300 785 646.

St John Ambulance NSW CEO, Sarah Lance said everyone in the community should know how to respond to a first aid emergency.

"But also be able to recognise when you need to seek medical help - whether that's calling an ambulance or visiting a GP," she said.

"Knowing first aid saves lives, and you just never know when you're going to need it.

"Being prepared can make a difference to your safety, and that of your family."

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