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St John celebrates 140 years of first aid

Rick, Wendy and Nicholas standing by at St John Ambulance banner

According to a new survey by St John Ambulance Australia, which celebrated its 140th anniversary on Saturday 24 June, 73 percent of Australians have witnessed a health or medical emergency, yet a staggering 53 percent of Australians say they don’t feel confident in their ability to administer first aid.

Thankfully this was not the case for Nicholas and Wendy Calabria when they unexpectedly found themselves at the center of a critical medical emergency.

Shortly after completing their First Aid training, a stranger collapsed near them, and, acting fast, they were able to put their newly acquired skills to use – ultimately helping to save the person’s life.

“Because the training was so fresh in our minds we just went into autopilot,” Wendy said.

“The most important thing we did was to manage the scene, and keep the person calm to prevent shock.”

Nicholas and Wendy say they don’t want any credit for their actions, and that there were many other factors that played a role in the patient’s survival. However, the patient’s family insists that their loved one would not have made it without the Calabria’s swift action.

“It was a matter of luck that we were there when it happened,” said Nicholas of the incident.

“We are so grateful to St John and our trainer Rick for giving us the skills and confidence to act quickly.”

St John Ambulance Tasmania CEO Andrew Paynter said that you never know when you may be called on to respond.

“It would be wonderful if emergencies only happened in the presence of medical professionals, however, the uncomfortable truth is that they can happen anywhere, anytime,” he said.

“St John has been helping Australian communities stay safe through first aid for 140 years, and here at St John Tasmania it is our mission to make every Tasmanian safer by equipping them with essential life-saving skills.”