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October 28, 2017 1:17 am

First Nations Learn to be First Responders

Thursday, December 3, 2015 @ 2:23 PM


Program  grads Mason Abou holds ‘patient’ Francis West steady, while Bernadine Paul checks the ‘patient’s’ blood pressure – photo 250News 

Prince George, B.C. – Today is graduation day for 24  students from First Nations throughout BC as they complete their  special First Aid training.

The  24  received  advance  first aid training   as part of program  developed by the First Nations Health Authority and the Canadian Red Cross. The program  is  designed to  provide  local and community leaders in remote  and rural communities, the skills and tools they need to  respond to illness or injuries  while they  wait for  ambulance personnel to arrive on scene.

“When we look at the  work that has  taken place provincially, to date we have had 94 candidates go  through with 34 communities having participated” says Becky Row, the  Red Cross’ Manager  for  Northern and Aboriginal Engagement for BC and Yukon .

Today’s graduation  class  represent 9 different communities says Row  including  the Lheidli T’enneh,  Kwadacha,  Takla, Nazko  and Ft. Babine.

“The program  was born in British Columbia through the leadership of First Nation’s B.C.    Back in as early as 2005, they  identified a real need for there to be greater  responders in rural and remote communities, partly because of the very long wait times because of the remoteness of some communities.”

She says there have already been success stories “With all of the graduates that we’ve had, we’ve  heard many  stories that have come back to us about a variety of incidents that have been successful.”

The candidates go through more than 40  hours of advanced first aid training “They are learning very advanced skills”  says Row “I think one of the  things that is really important with this work is not only are they doing the First Aid  skills,  when they  go home, First Nations Health Authority is also supporting them  in provision of equipment as well as things like co-incident stress support.  So when the candidates arrive home they will have the knowledge, the tools and skills to be successful.”


A good news story. They are sure to be of assistance to the nurses already on duty on reserves. They are also likely to be fairly busy.

Wish them all well, good to hear.

First aid skills aren’t that rare in First Nations communities. I have several friends with their Level 3, useful in the logging industry, and two ambulance attendants.

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