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Call for Defibrillator use in the Australian National Curriculum

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

two lives saved

Water safety experts are calling for practical lifesaving to become part of Australia's National Curriculum after 21 people drowned in just 2 weeks over the 2016/2017 new year.

Bruce "Hoppo" Hopkins, head lifeguard at Bondi Beach and vice president of Surf Educators International said there had been 400 rescues at Bondi since Christmas Eve and 220 ambulance call outs for near drownings.

"It is extremely important that children are educated in all aspects of water safety. Given the recent tragedies, I believe it is crucial that we pass on valuable knowledge."

Mr Hopkins said swim safety and lifesaving techniques including CPR, spinal management and how to use a defibrillator should be taught in schools as part of the national curriculum.

"It should be compulsory," he said. "We take kids as young as four years old into the water and in a controlled environment using flotation devices such as kickboards, we show them what to do if they are in a rip. Staying calm and floating is key and it is great to see the kids relax and learn how to respect the ocean."

Tracey Ayton, chief executive of Eastlakes' Little Heroes Swim Academy, said people with swimming pools on their property should ensure they were fenced off and learn CPR in the event of an accident.

"If you are the owner of a pool and are hosting a party always make sure there is an allocated pool watcher, just like a designated driver," she said. "This person must be an able bodied adult who is ready to get wet and rescue if needed, not someone reading a book or distracted by phones."

Does your school have a defibrillator? Check out the facts here.

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